Knights softball team dominates on senior day

Newport junior pitcher Hanako Hirai tosses a no-hitter in home finale.

Senior day couldn’t have been more perfect for the Newport Knights girls softball team.

The Knights cruised to a 9-0 victory against the Issaquah Eagles in the final home contest of the regular season on April 24 in Factoria. Newport junior pitcher Hanako Hirai was unstoppable in the pitching circle, tossing a no-hitter in front of the hometown fans on a picture perfect 63-degree afternoon. Newport improved its overall record to 13-5 with the win while Issaquah dropped to 3-14 overall.

Newport head coach Parris Mamon wasn’t surprised to see Hirai shut down the Eagles offense.

“Hanako is legit. She doesn’t get all the votes from all the other (opposing) coaches but she’s pretty darn special. I’m glad she is on my team instead of somebody else’s,” Mamon said with pride.

Before the game kicked off, Knights seniors Noelle Thomas, Alexis Khauv and Ariana Arnone were recognized for their commitment to the Knights softball program. Hirai said the senior class was on her mind when she took the field against the Eagles.

“I just really wanted to give the seniors a good season this year. They’ve worked really hard. I really wanted to show them that we’re going to battle everyone. We want to make it to state (tournament) this year,” Hirai said.

The Knights offense scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning and added another four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Brook Richards connected on a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth. Newport’s Katie Lee doubled to left field with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third, giving her team an early 3-0 lead. Thomas doubled later in the inning, extending the lead to 4-0.

Issaquah head coach Ron Hatlen said his youthful squad continues to give maximum effort.

“We are starting six freshmen. We are young and we are learning how to play a full seven innings right now. Hanako (Hirai) pitched well. We didn’t make adjustments. We knew what she was going to throw. We hit the ball well, but we hit it right at them. We had runners (Eagles drew four walks throughout the duration of the game). That is just what it has been the whole season for us,” Hatlen said.