Cruiser fastpitch team wins league championship
The Lady Cruiser fastpitch team wrapped up its COVID-shortened season last week by defeating the Franklin Pierce Cardinals, 20-0, to claim the 2021 SPSL 2A league championship.
Once again, junior Hailey Rath came up big for the Cruisers by hitting two home runs in the game to increase her season total to 15 home runs in 13 games and break her cousin Brooklynn Lucht’s record of 13.
“It’s awesome, actually,” Rath said of eclipsing her cousin’s mark. “I knew I was going to come out and work my hardest this year. I didn’t think it would be this crazy.”
Rath also drove in 58 runs for the Cruisers in those 13 games. She also hit more home runs than she did singles or doubles, with 10 apiece.
Brooke Blocker hit her seventh home run of the season and drove in four Cruiser runs while Haley Smith hit her first home run and drove in three.
Earlier in the week, the Cruisers defeated the Orting Cardinals, 28-10, behind the power of Blocker, who hit three home runs in the game to lead the Cruisers with four hits. Mary Chabot also posted a multi-home run game with two of her own.
The Cruisers started the week by taking down the White River Hornets, 14-0, with Rath going 4-4 at the plate and Cailin Quinney hitting her third home run of the season.
In addition to her 15 home runs, Rath led the Cruisers in a multitude of offensive categories this season. She also led the team with a .704 batting average, 38 hits, 10 doubles, 58 RBIs, 41 runs scored, 10 stolen bases, a 1.833 slugging percentage and a .747 on-base average.
The Cruisers set many school records in this shortened season besides Rath's home run record. Her team-leading totals in batting average and on-base average also set school records.
Alina Quinney also broke a school record with the lowest K percentage, only striking out three times in 60 plate appearances.
Head coach Jen Smith said she and her assistants were happy with how the season turned out and how their players responded.
“The shortened season, there is a lot to say with this group of girls,” Smith said. “Between the coaches, we had many talks of what could have been. With the players, we took a different road and looked at all the positive things this season could and did bring, the first and most important was having the opportunity to actually play the game we love after missing our season last year.
“The players showed they were there to make up for missed time this year by breaking many school records,” Smith added. “After each game, we talked and gave a “one-two” about our game. After our last game, Berkeley Porter gave the best “one-two” that I feel summed up our season. She said 'being here with you guys at games and practice is the best part of my day. I am going to miss this. Thank you, guys.' Our team this year was selfless. Everybody seemed to root for each other and genuinely care about one another, and in my opinion that is a win in itself.”
The Cruisers finished the 2021 season with a 12-1 record and the league title. Eatonville's only loss came in the season opener, a nonleague contest against 2A power Rochester.