Wolves serve notice in win over CK

If there were any lingering questions about the status of pitching for the South Kitsap High School fastpitch team, Dawn Thomas and Melissa Ballard answered them with a 3-1 win against previously unbeaten Central Kitsap Friday in a Narrows League Bridge Division showdown at SK.

While not overpowering, the crafty Thomas induced CK into a plethora groundouts through four innings and didn’t give up a run.

Ballard, a junior, relieved the sophomore in the fifth and threw three strong innings to earn the save.

Sheena Stangler had two of CK’s three hits. She was the unlucky loser on the mound.

CK (4-1 league, 7-1 overall) managed just three hits against SK (3-2 league, 8-4 overall) but came close to tying the game in the sixth inning.

Trailing 3-1, CK found itself with runners on second and third with two outs.

But second baseman Jamie Peters made the play of the game when she laid out and caught a line drive to end the inning.

SK scattered eight hits, but junior Cathy Kniess came through with a two hits, including an RBI triple in the fourth inning.

SK scored its first run on a Kelsey Herstad RBI single and Ashley Robinson scored on CK’s lone error to make it 2-0.

SK manufactured its third run.

Ballard led off with a single and Jackie Binns moved her to second base on a sacrifice bunt.

Kniess smacked her triple to score Ballard.

SK coach Kathy Ballew said the pitching combination of Thomas and Ballard has worked well all season.

“When Dawn is on she doesn’t walk people and she hits with location and keeps the ball down,” Ballew said. “Against CK, she allowed just two hits. Melissa has more speed on her ball.”

What has also made the pitching look good is the team’s defense and its depth.

Against CK, Peters filled in at second base for starter Sarah Brown, who was ill.

Though the sophomore has played the outfield, Ballew said she’s a natural infielder but must play behind Brown, a senior.

Ballew gives credit to the defense of Robinson at third base and Herstad at shortstop.

Ballard and Thomas trade off at first base, and the speedy outfield of Binns and Kniess have routinely robbed base hits from the opposition.

Ballew said the win is a huge confidence builder, but said her team thought it was capable of winning the game.

“I told them they were capable of playing that way,” Ballew said. “They said they knew. I knew they were ready to play well, though. They hit the field earlier than usual. I think CK came in thinking they were going to win, but I like being the underdog.”

There are only six more games remaining before the Narrows League tournament gets underway in early May.

Ballew said she feels her team is capable of beating Gig Harbor and will finish the season at CK.

SK hosted North Kitsap yesterday, barring rain. Results were unavailable at press time.

SK’s travels to Olympic Thursday and hosts Port Angeles Monday at 3:30 p.m.

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