Sports

Baserunning blunders end SK's season

This time the little things caught up to them.

Brittany Miller pitched seven strong innings Monday but base running errors caught up to the South Kitsap fastpitch softball team as Evergreen pulled out a 4-3 win in 10 innings in a winner-to-state, loser out contest in the West Central District Tournament at Sprinker Rec Center in Tacoma.

The loss ended the Wolves’ season at 18-7, one game short of a return trip to the Class 4A state tournament.

“A couple of base-running errors (hurt) and we’ve done it before, so I don’t understand why we didn’t learn from it earlier in the season,” South coach Kathy Ballew said. “It just wasn’t meant to be.”

South committed three costly base-running blunders that took them out of potential big innings, the final one ending the game. Pinch runner Amber Jacobs got caught off third in the fifth inning with just one out as the Wolves had a chance to break the game open.

Jievielyn Howard, the potential game-winning run, got caught off second base on a fielder’s choice by Stephanie Mott in the 10th. Two batters later, with runners on second and first and just one out, Savannah Starkweather got doubled up at first on a line out by Heather Grinde.

“I don’t want to say that one mistake won the game for them,” Ballew said. “There were still things we could have done, too.”

Miller, who had thrown a one-hitter Friday to keep the Wolves alive, went seven strong innings, allowing seven hits while striking out four. She was touched for three runs on four hits in the seventh inning when South was just three outs away from clinching a state berth.

Amanda Galla tossed the final three innings, allowing a run on two hits to take the loss.

“(It’s) mental things that people practice all year and when it’s time to do them, they just forget,” Galla said. “But we had a great year. There were a lot of ups and downs, but it was a great year.”

Miller pitched her way out of potential jams in the second and fourth innings as the Wolves closed to within three outs of the win. But a hit batsmen, three singles and a double put the Plainsmen up 3-1.

But the Wolves came right back, getting a leadoff single from Chantel Boddie. Miller reached on a error and Boddie scored on a single by Jessie Reddemen. Miller then tied the game on a wild pitch by Evergreen’s Lauren Hadenfeld.

“That was so nice that they could come back,” Ballew said. “I expect that from them. They are just competitors and I’m proud of them. They’ve always been tough that way. If there’s a game to play, they are going to play it.

“They didn’t die and they could have so easily right then,” Ballew said. “That would have been a bad way to go out.”

After a scoreless eighth, the international tie-breaker rule went into effect, giving each team a runner at second to start the innings.

South loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth but couldn’t push the winning run across.

South put on with no outs in the 10th, needing a least one run to tie but Howard got picked off second and Starkweather was doubled off of first to end the game and the Wolves’ season.

“We had a lot of fun and the girls were really nice to work with,” Ballew said of the season. “The camaraderie was excellent and sometimes you don’t get that chemistry, but it was there. That made it fun. We got here and we got to day two and there are a lot teams that didn’t.”

n South Kitsap 2, Jefferson 0: Needing a win to stay alive, Brittany Miller tossed a one-hit masterpiece Friday, striking out 11 batters in her return from an illness.

The junior, who almost missed the WCD tournament, mowed down seven of the first nine batters she faced and made Savannah Starkweather’s fourth-inning RBI bloop single stand up.

Second baseman Stephanie Solarek provided the Wolves with a little insurance with a RBI single in the fifth.

n Enumclaw 3, South Kitsap 1: Jessie Christian hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning to spoil a nice outing by Amanda Galla as South dropped the first game of the WCD tournament.

Savannah Starkweather collected a pair of hits for the Wolves.

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