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FASTPITCH | Wolves’ playoff aspirations in jeopardy
OLYMPIA — After winning the Class 4A Narrows League championship in three of the last four seasons, the Wolves could find themselves in an unfamiliar position.
Outside of the playoffs.
That is the predicament South Kitsap’s fastpitch team is in now following Wednesday’s 4-2 loss against Olympia at Stevens Field.
The Wolves (7-5 overall, 3-5 league) trail Bellarmine Prep by one game for the league’s fourth — and final — playoff spot. South hosts the Lions at 3:30 p.m. Friday. And with only two 4A Narrows’ contests remaining after that game, it could be a must-win scenario for the Wolves.
South coach Jessica Cabato said she is not concerned.
“They’re in a good place,” she said.
The Wolves had an opportunity to move into a tie with Bellarmine by beating the first-place Bears (14-2, 8-1). South responded in the second inning after Olympia took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when a single by Adrianna Rupright scored Erin Roloff.
After senior first baseman Hannah Spohn led off with a single, classmate Tessa Tremper later drew a two-out walk. During the ensuing at-bat, freshman left Sophia Canton hit a two-run single to right field. Canton was a recent call-up from junior varsity when senior Chelsea Foster sustained an ankle injury.
“I do expect Chelsea back,” Cabato said. “But Sophia … if we make the postseason she definitely will be with us.”
Following Canton’s contribution, the Wolves only managed two hits off starter Maddy Stensby for the remainder of the game. Cabato said Stensby is the only left-handed pitcher her team has faced during league play.
That does not mean South is unfamiliar with southpaws, though. Cabato, who pitched at Central Kitsap and Bethune-Cookman University in Florida, is a left-hander and throws batting practice to her team.
“No excuse,” she said. “They weren’t even looking at the ball.”
The more significant factor, Cabato said, was the Wolves’ approach at the plate. Stensby finished with 11 strikeouts.
“She was staying out of [the strike zone] and that’s a good pitcher,” she said. “If the other team isn’t going to require you to throw strikes there’s no reason to.”
Those issues were magnified during the sixth inning when South’s first two hitters reached base. But a squandered bunt followed by a ground out and fly out ended the Wolves’ scoring prospect.
“We have to be able to play small ball a little better. If you’re struggling to hit you better be able to lay down a bunt. That definitely was a missed opportunity.”
While South struggled to make contact against Stensby, the Bears tied the game, 2-all, in the third inning off right-handed starter Maddy Watson. That came with two outs when Roloff hit an infield single and then advanced to second on a throwing error. Roloff then stole third base and scored on an errant throw.
Olympia gained a 3-2 lead an inning later when three consecutive hitters had one-out singles. The final one by Glynne Saelid scored Stensby.
The Bears’ final run came in the sixth inning when Rupright, who went 2 for 3, hit a home run over the center-field fence.
At Olympia 4, South Kitsap 2
South Kitsap 020 000 0 - 2 3 2
Olympia 101 101 x - 4 7 2
Maddy Watson and Drew Camacho. Maddy Stensby and Adrianna Rupright.
Leading hitters-Sophia Canton (SK) 1-3 2 RBI, Hannah Spohn (SK) 1-2 HBP run, Rupright (O) 2-3 HR RBI run, Erin Roloff (O) 2-3 2 runs.
At South Kitsap 6, Yelm 4
Yelm 000 002 2 - 4 11 2
South Kitsap 500 010 x - 6 8 1
(No battery available)
Leading hitter-Hannah Spohn (SK) 2-3 2 2B 2 RBI run.
South Kitsap 21, at Stadium 0 (3)
South Kitsap (13)64 - 21 21 1
Stadium 000 - 0 0 4
Leading hitter-Drew Camacho 3-3 3 HR.