Wolves stay perfect as playoffs loom

What may have looked like batting practice Friday afternoon at South Kitsap was really the Wolves’ fastpitch team taking yet another step towards a Narrows League Bridge Division title.

The Wolves used Friday’s 16-0 win over Shelton as a tuneup for Monday’s late game in Poulsbo against North Kitsap while improving to 13-0 overall and 9-0 in league play.

Going into the North game, South held a two-game lead over the Vikings (8-4, 6-2), and led Central Kitsap (10-3, 6-3) and Gig Harbor (9-5, 6-3) by three games with five games left on the regular-season schedule to play.

The top four teams in the division qualify for postseason play with the top two gaining automatic berths in the West-Central District Tournament.

South pounded two Shelton pitchers for 14 hits and 16 runs and ended the game after the top of the fifth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule.

Amanda Galla ran her record to 4-0 on the year by allowing just three base runners while striking out nine.

And while Galla dominated the Highclimbers — she allowed just two singles and hit one batter — the South bats left no doubt how the game would end.

Senior Jievielyn Howard rebounded from a bit of a slump by going 3-4 with four runs batted in while shortstop Stephanie Mott, coming off an 0-3 performance last week at Port Angeles, was 3-for-3 with a double and a triple and knocked in three runs.

“We were just talking about how are bats are coming but it’s the team chemistry – our chemistry on the field is fantastic,” Howard said. “I’m just really proud of all the girls for just getting along and pulling through together as a team.”

Howard, who ripped a triple to drive in two of her four runs, said she has been trying a new approached at the plate - a positive one.

“I’ve actually gotten over my fear this year of hitting with two strikes on me,” Howard said. “I know it only takes one. And I don’t think on the negative side anymore.”

The top half of the South lineup must have been feeling that way as well as they combined to go 12-for-19, drove in nine runs and scored 13 times.

“The difference this year is every game someone different steps up,” Mott said. “It seems like each game it’s someone different, which I think is good because it shows that we are really well-rounded and we have a lot of depth.”

There have been some questions raised about how to deal with the depth on the team, especially at pitcher. With Brittany Miller cruising along with a perfect 9-0 record and an ERA below 0.50 and Galla, who was the team’s statistical leader last year, getting most of the other mound time, pitching innings have been hard to come by. And it has been Galla who has been sacrificing pitching time in order to help build some depth.

While she said she knows it will pay off in the long run, she was happy to get the chance to finish out a game she said.

“I feel better about it,” Galla said. “I talked to (coach Kathy Ballew) about it before the game.”

In her last two outings before the Shelton game, Galla has pitched just five innings despite allowing no runs and having big leads when she was pulled.

South closes out its final full week of play with home games against Olympic and Gig Harbor this week. Friday’s game with the Tides is senior night and the team’s final regular season home game.

The Wolves close out the season with road game at Central Kitsap and Bremerton next week.

South Kitsap 16, Shelton 0 (5)

Played April 29 at South Kitsap

Shelton 000 00 — 0 2 2

South Kitsap 10(10) 5x — 16 14 0

Carrissa Krumples, Holly Mills (4) and Tara Grant; Amanda Galla and Caty Lieseke. W-Galla 4-0. L-Krumples (0-4).

Leadings hitters: Shel – Tara Grant 1-2. SK – Amanda Galla 2-4 (RBI,2R), Brittany Miller 1-2 (SB), Stephanie Mott 3-3 (3RBI,2B,3B), Jievielyn Howard 3-4 (4RBI,3B), Caty Lieseke 1-3 (RBI).

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