SK suffers setback in loss to Olympic

Success has come to the South Kitsap High School fastpitch team when the defense backs up its pitcher.

While that’s always the case in fastpitch, it’s especially true for SK.

Sophomore pitcher Dawn Thomas is a groundball pitcher and the defense makes the plays behind her. That wasn’t the case Thursday in Olympic’s 6-5 win at SK in a Narrows League Bridge Division matchup.

The Trojans (4-5 league) put up two runs in the first inning and four more in the third before surviving a comeback attempt from SK (6-4).

Olympic’s Lauren Haas recorded the win on the mound, and helped her own cause at the plate with three hits. Crystaleeann Santos belted a two-run home run that reached the corner of spacious left field.

Of Olympic’s six runs, only two were earned as the SK defense clearly had its worst game of the year defensively with eight errors.

The bulk of the errors came on throwing gaffes to first base.

“I don’t know what the problem was,” SK coach Kathy Ballew said. “I can’t explain it. (Olympic) had our number over there (in Silverdale), too.”

The Trojans climbed to within one game of SK, which is currently in third place.

SK scored a huge 3-1 win at Gig Harbor Wednesday to briefly put the Wolves in sole possession of second place.

SK made the game interesting in the latter innings. Trailing 6-1, Cathy Kniess belted her fourth home run of the year — a two-run shot to right field — to cut the lead to 6-3.

Savannah Starkweather’s RBI double in the sixth inning cut Olympic’s lead to two runs.

The rally in the sixth inning was cut short on a baserunning error from Starkweather at third where she was tagged after overrunning the base.

SK had one last effort in the bottom of the seventh inning. With one out, Melissa Ballard lined a single up the middle and advanced to second base on a fielder’s choice.

With two outs, Kniess roped a single up the middle to score Ballard.

Kelsey Herstad, who already had an RBI double and a single flied out to center to end the game.

Thomas lasted just 2 1/3 innings before Jenny Rigg came on in relief.

Rigg showed poise on the mound, holding Olympic to two hits over the final 4 2/3 innings.

“Jenny’s been waiting to get in, and the opportunity arrived and she did fine,” Ballew said.

The Wolves can increase their chances of a second place finish if it can beat Central Kitsap Monday. SK is the only team to hand CK a loss this year.

A win there plus a likely win against Bremerton next week would all but assure SK of second place. But CK may have other plans as it is led by ace pitchers Jackie Quint and Sheena Stangler.

While SK was confident it could beat Olympic, Ballew said it was just another reminder why the team needs to play every team like its the best team in the league.

“That’s why you gotta play the games, because anyone can win,” Ballew said.

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