Kent/Auburn fastpitch all-stars win district, move on to state tourney

They received steady pitching and delivered air-tight defense, too.

The Kent/Auburn 10-11 All-Star fastpitch team also came through with clutch at-bats. Combine the three and the Kent/Auburn Stars were able to put together a flawless District 10 tournament, last month at Federal Ways National Complex, winning three straight games to come home with the championship.

The three wins helped Kent/Auburn punch its ticket to this weekend’s state fastpitch tournament, which begins Saturday, July 17 in Yacolt (just north of Battleground) and runs through Thursday, July 22.

“The girls are excited,” said coach Jeff Kalka. “We’re looking forward to state. We’ve been practicing almost every day except for Sunday. I think our chances are good.”

The Kent/Auburn Stars will be up against the other top 15 fastpitch teams in their age group in the state.

“Pitching will be key,” Kalka noted.

Pitching was certainly one of the keys for the Kent/Auburn Stars during the District 10 tournament, when they rolled off three straight wins to take the championship. Kent/Auburn opened with a 13-10 win over Bonney Lake, a game in which Payton Kalka picked up the win with two scoreless innings of relief. Lisa Kamaunu provided the biggest fireworks of the game, going 2-for-4 with a 3-run homer in the first inning that set the stage for the victory. Samantha Noszlopy added a perfect performance from the plate, going 3-for-3 with a 2-run single.

Ace pitcher Jordan Engman delivered in the circle in the semifinals, leading Kent/Auburn past Federal Way/Soundview 6-4. Engman struck out 11 batters — including the final three — in a complete-game effort to notch the victory. Kamaunu remained hot with the bat, giving Kent/Auburn a two-run lead in the first inning with a 2-run single. Kent/Auburn also received an RBI double by Ashley Myrseth-Barrea and an RBI single by Brianna Azevedo.

Kamaunu chipped in two more hits, including a three-run triple, in the championship game, a 10-8 victory over Bonney Lake while Engman went the distance for the second time. Kent/Auburn also received a blistering performance on the basepaths as Lyzelle Maranan went 1-for-2 with six stolen bases while Morgana Emery chipped in an RBI.

“Our pitching and defense is what led us to the title,” Kalka said.