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FASTPITCH | ‘Scrappy’ Wolves prevail in extra innings
LACEY — Resilient.
That might be the best way to describe South Kitsap’s fastpitch team after Friday’s 14-10 win in 10 innings against Yelm to claim third place in the Class 4A Narrows League Tournament at Regional Athletic Complex.
The Wolves (12-8), who advanced to Friday’s 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament as the league’s No. 3 seed and play Kentridge at Kent Service Fields, had to overcome a couple of difficult situations to win.
It started with erasing a 5-1 deficit after two innings. And it continued with squandering a four-run lead in the ninth inning.
Discouraged? No. South’s players viewed it as just another opportunity.
They made the most of it in the 10th inning. International tiebreaker rules for fastpitch dictate that a runner is placed at second base when each team comes up to bat during extra innings. That runner came across during the 10th inning when left fielder Kira Stanley hit a one-out single. Stanley then scored to give the Wolves an 11-9 lead on a double by catcher Drew Camacho.
Following a walk by shortstop Hayley Romo, first baseman Hannah Spohn singled to score Camacho. Romo also crossed home plate when the left fielder misplayed the ball. Spohn then reached home on a double by outfielder Sophia Canton.
“I’m really glad to see the team pull together and fight for the win,” Spohn said. “It just shows that we’re not going to give up. We’re scrappy.”
South right-handed starter Maddie Watson, who tied Spohn with a team-high four hits, then only allowed the runner at second to score in the bottom half of the inning to secure the win.
The Wolves’ five runs in the 10th were more runs than they produced during their games in the first day of the tournament Thursday against Bellarmine Prep and Olympia — combined. After scoring four runs and splitting those contests, South coach Jessica Cabato said her team returned to Port Orchard for extra batting practice for about 90 minutes Thursday night.
“They weren’t satisfied after the second game,” she said, referring to the 5-1 loss against Olympia where the Wolves did not produce a hit until the sixth inning.
If the results against the Tornados (14-6) were any indication, the plan worked. During the ninth inning, South’s first five hitters reached base. Run-producing singles by Romo and Watson were sandwiched by a two-RBI double from Spohn.
But Yelm, which finished second in 4A Narrows, refused to capitulate. Center fielder Alex Choate led off the inning with an RBI single and third baseman Tayler Finch followed with a run-producing double. Catcher Savannah Brown later produced a one-out RBI double and the tying run came across when an error allowed right fielder Neka Viveos to reach first.
“They have good bats and Maddie’s thrown a lot of pitches in the last day and a half,” Cabato said. “I didn’t expect it to be easy.”
That led to only the Wolves’ latest comeback. They took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when a throwing error by the shortstop enabled Camaco, who had a leadoff single, to score.
But that advantage quickly disappeared. After the Tornados loaded the bases during the second inning, Choate hit a two-run ground-rule double to left-center field. Finch followed with a two-RBI single to right field. One batter later, pitcher Megan Mendonca hit a two-out single to right field that scored Finch and increased Yelm’s lead to 5-1.
South reduced its deficit to 5-3 in the fourth inning when center fielder Chelsea Foster hit a one-out sacrifice fly to center field that scored second baseman Kendall Clauson, who led off the inning with a single. Right fielder Shelby Reyes, who also reached on a single, crossed home with two outs when the left fielder misplayed a hit by Stanley.
The Wolves then tied the game in the fifth inning when Romo led off with a walk and Spohn followed with a single. Both scored during the ensuing at-bat when Watson doubled to right-center field.
That led to the first extra-inning game of the season for South. Even though Cabato was not sure how much the game mattered from a seeding standpoint, she felt the experience was invaluable.
“It was good for them — regardless of the seeding [for districts] — to come out, perform and hit the ball well,” she said. “They needed to feel that.”
4A Narrows League Tournament
At Regional Athletic Complex (Lacey)
South Kitsap 14, Yelm 10
South Kitsap 100 220 004 5 - 14 18 4
Yelm 050 000 004 1 - 10 16 2
Maddie Watson and Drew Camacho. Megan Mendonca, Jessilyn Enlow (5), Mendonca (9) and Savannah Brown.
W-Watson. L- Mendonca.
Leading hitters-Kira Stanley (SK) 2-4 HBP, Camacho (SK) 3-6 2 runs 2 RBI, Hayley Romo (SK) 2-4 2 BB 3 runs 2 RBI, Hannah Spohn (SK) 4-6 2B 2 runs 3 RBI, Watson (SK) 4-6 2B 4 RBI, Alex Choate (Y) 5-6 2B 2 runs 3 RBI, Mendonca (Y) 3-5 run RBI, Tayler Finch (Y) 2-6 2B run 3 RBI.