South Kitsap has struggled to find consistency through the early portion of its schedule.
For the first time this season, the Wolves combined offensive prowess with superior pitching to hand Olympia its first loss of the season, 12-3, in a Class 4A Narrows League fastpitch game.
The Bears (5-1 overall, 2-1 league) actually scored first when Nikki Schroeder singled to left field off starter Erika Henderson to score Lexi Sanderlin.
But South (3-3, 3-0) wasted little time responding. Sophomore catcher Ashley Gidican hit a two-out single off Schroeder in the bottom of the first to score senior shortstop Ericka Hobson, who had tripled.
The Wolves were not finished there.
Sophomore first baseman Hannah Spohn led off the second inning with a single. She was the first of seven straight hitters to reach base. The biggest one of the inning came from the No. 9 hitter, right fielder Joni Howard, who had a two-RBI triple. The Wolves scored six runs in the inning to take a 7-1 advantage.
“They’ve been looking dull,” said South assistant coach Karly Viereck, who guided the team while Tami Lester-Dame was out of town. “They have a spark in them now.”
Spohn could be an example of that. She went 3 for 4 with a double.
“She wasn’t hitting and went down and played one game with junior varsity,” Viereck said. “She hit well in that game and I think it boosted her confidence. She’s been hitting since then.”
Schroeder was replaced by Amanda Rupright in the fourth inning, but the Wolves continued to add runs. Senior center fielder Taylor Sunkel and Gidican had a consecutive one-out RBI singles that scored Howard and junior second baseman Alissa Buss to extend South’s lead to 9-1.
The Wolves then pushed their lead to 10-1 in the fifth inning when designated hitter Maddie Watson hit an RBI single that scored senior left fielder Maile Keanu, who tripled.
That was more than enough for Henderson, who scattered half-dozen hits entering the sixth inning. Sanderlin hit a two-out, two-RBI single off Henderson to cut Olympia’s deficit to 10-3. But during the ensuing at-bat, Sanderlin was called out for leaving second base too early to end the threat.
South then added a couple more runs in the bottom half of the inning when sophomore third baseman Tessah Tremper singled to score Gidican. Tremper later scored when the shortstop bobbled a ball off Keanu’s bat.
The Wolves produced 18 hits.
“This is the first time I remember all the girls hitting well,” Viereck said. “They came out with confidence and knew they could win.”
Henderson then retired the Bears in order to end the game. It marked the fewest runs South has allowed in a game this year.
“She has a ton of movement and places the ball well,” Viereck said. “And Ashley was calling a great game. It was a dynamic duo.”
The Wolves did without their top starter and No. 3 hitter Ashley Chamberlin. Viereck said she has battled tendonitis in her shoulder but is hopeful Chamberlin can return when South next plays at 4 p.m. Monday at Yelm.
At South Kitsap 12, Olympia 3
Olympia 100 002 0 — 3 9 3
South Kitsap 160 212 x — 12 18 1
Nikki Schroeder, Amanda Rupright (4) and Adrianna Rupright. Erika Henderson and Ashley Gidican.
Leading hitters—Alissa Buss (SK) 3-4 2 runs, Ericka Hobson (SK) 1-2 BB 3B run, Taylor Sunkel (SK) 2-4 RBI, Ashley Gidican (SK) 3-4 RBI run, Hannah Spohn (SK) 3-4 2B run, Maddie Watson (SK) 2-4 3B 2 RBI run.