Tides wash over Wolves in 2-0 loss

Kathy Ballew shielded her eyes from the sharp afternoon sun and scanned her scorebook for answers to questions produced in the wake of South Kitsap’s 2-0 loss to Gig Harbor.

It didn’t require much time for South’s veteran coach to come up with something telling. The Wolves stranded nine runners at home Tuesday and that inability to get key hits doomed South in the Narrows League fastpitch duel with the rival Tides.

“Nine runners left on base ... I’m not too happy about that,” Ballew said.

The Wolves fell to 2-2 in league and 5-4 overall and now face an extended break before resuming play against Central Kitsap on Friday, April 12.

On Tuesday, the Tides and Wolves took turns squandering opportunities until Gig Harbor center fielder Hannah Shelley unloaded on South reliever Dawn Thomas to break the scoreless tie. Shelley led off the inning by launching a shot over center fielder Cathy Kniess’ head and into the grassy expanse in right-center.

Kniess ran the ball down, then bobbled it briefly, giving Shelley more than enough time to round the bases with her second game-winning home run in as many games.

The Wolves, however, seemed ready to break through in their half of the sixth when they loaded the bases with nobody out against Gig Harbor hurler Hannah Johnson, who came on in relief of starter Anna Moergeli in the fifth. Johnson managed to wriggle out of the jam.

She struck out Amber Jacobs for the first out, then got a break when South’s Kelsey Herstad attempted to score from third on a wild pitch and was tossed out by catcher Lisa Tobin.

Thomas then grounded out to second to end the threat.

The Tides added an unearned run in the seventh, and the Wolves watched their flickering hopes die when Kniess struck out looking with Melissa Ballard

standing on third base in the bottom of the frame.

“We had some chances,” Ballew said. “Gig Harbor’s pitching was good. We just struggled a little today, and that was kind of disappointing. We need to string hits back-to-back like we did at the beginning of the season. We were smacking the ball, and against some pretty good pitching.”

Ballard, who has been battling wrist problems all year, started for South and worked her way through four scoreless innings.

“We’re trying to work her in slowly, and she went as far as she could,” Ballew said. “I hope we’ll have her when we need her in the end, but we have to get to the end first. We’re going to have to battle to get to postseason.”

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