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FASTPITCH | South Kitsap wins tourney title in dramatic fashion
TACOMA — The message not only was audible to South Kitsap’s Hayley Romo, but anyone near the field.
“This is your job here,” South coach Jessica Cabato hollered as Romo stepped toward the plate. “Base hit gets it done.”
The sophomore came through as Romo singled off reliever Courtney Schwan to give the Wolves a come-from-behind 10-9 win in nine innings against Bellarmine Prep in the Class 4A Narrows League fastpitch title game Friday at South End Recreation Area.
South earned 4A Narrows’ No. 1 seed entering next week’s West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament and will open today against Mount Rainier (13-10) at Tacoma’s Sprinker Recreation Area.
“Two games, they pushed, they pushed for those wins and they played very well to get them,” said South coach Jessica Cabato, whose team also needed 10 innings to defeat Gig Harbor, 6-5, Thursday.
The Wolves, who have won the 4A Narrows League Tournament in three of the last four seasons, trailed 9-7 entering the ninth inning. South’s first run came on a fielder’s choice and Hannah Spohn’s RBI scored Alissa Buss, who reached on a walk, to tie the game.
Spohn’s success came in spite of breaking her new bat earlier in the game, which required her to use an older model.
“I was struggling through the game,” she said. “I came up to bat and was like, ‘You know what, I am going to get this hit and we’re going to tie.’ ”
Ashley Chamberlin’s single advanced Spohn to third, which brought up Romo. Despite Romo’s youth, Cabato was not surprised to see her succeed in that situation.
“She has been hitting the ball very well,” she said. “She hits to that side often so she knows what pitches she’s looking for. She has been really successful lately. She’s been waiting for something like that.”
A dramatic conclusion. That was the Wolves’ only route to victory after the Lions took the lead during the top of the eighth inning when Alyssa McKiernan’s fly ball rolled past left fielder Kira Stanley to the fence to give the Lions the lead.
Cabato acknowledged that Chamberlin was not at her strongest after pitching all 10 innings the previous day. Her 19 combined innings pitched are the most she has thrown at South during a two-day span.
“[She] didn’t have quite as much pop on the ball and didn’t have quite as much movement, but it’s a really good sign you have a good pitcher when she can hold her own without her best stuff,” said Cabato, who pitched at Bethune-Cookman University in Florida after graduating in 2000 from Central Kitsap.
While the game could not be described as crisp — the Wolves committed five of the combined nine errors during the game — Chamberlin received plenty of help from Buss.
The Linfield College-bound senior twice threw out runners trying to score from third base and made a diving stop in the fifth inning where she flipped the ball to Romo for a put out. Buss also threw out the go-ahead runner at home in the top of the eighth on a ground ball.
“Alyssa has been a stud in the infield all year long,” Cabato said. “She’s one of the most fun kids to watch play the game. She practices these plays all of the time and she can make them happen in the game. Defensively, we count on her a lot.”
South Kitsap 10, Bellarmine Prep 9 (9)
Bellarmine Prep 201 310 000 — 9 11 4
South Kitsap 221 200 003 — 10 8 5
Rachel Barcina, Courtney Schwan (4) and Abby McDonald. Ashley Chamberlin and Drew Camacho.
Leading hitters-Alyssa McKiernan (BP) 3-6 2 runs, Barcena (BP) 2-2 RBI run, Alyssa Buss (SK) 2-4 HR BB 3 RBI 4 runs, Ashley Chamberlin (SK) 2-5 RBI.