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Fastpitch: South Kitsap can't duplicate late-inning heroics
They have shown their flair for the dramatic.
But even with five runs in the seventh inning on Wednesday, the Wolves could not snag a second straight come-from-behind win with a 9-7 loss against Central Kitsap at Silverdale’s Linder Field.
“Too little, too late,” South Kitsap coach Kathy Ballew said.
Unlike Tuesday’s 7-6 win in extra innings against Wilson, South nearly put itself in a position where a comeback would not have been possible.
The Wolves (8-2 overall, 8-2 league) committed five errors and trailed 9-0 entering the sixth inning.
But they finally stopped right-hander Kim Chase’s shutout bid and avoided the mercy rule that inning. Right fielder Emily Bricks reached on an error by the shortstop and scored during the ensuing at-bat when Emily Cunningham hit a 1-2 pitch over the left-field wall. Catcher Bridjet Box and first baseman Alexis O’Dell followed with singles, but neither scored as Chase retired the next three hitters.
South had a little more success when it loaded the bases again in the seventh inning. Center fielder Meagan Ransier singled and Bricks doubled before Cunningham was intentionally walked. Box then hit a one-out double down the left-field line to clear the bases and cut the Cougars’ lead to 9-5.
O’Dell followed with a single before second baseman Ericka Hobson did the same to score Box. Designated hitter Erika Henderson grounded out in the next at-bat to score O’Dell. But Chase was able to induce third baseman Tonya Forster into a groundout to end the game.
“I just want to say that we came out here with a really big head,” Cunningham said. “We didn’t feel like we were going to lose, and everyone was just flat.”
That particularly was true in the first and fourth innings.
“It was not like use to commit errors and errors,” Ballew said. “Right from the very beginning we were off. We didn’t have energy.”
Cunningham retired the first two batters in the opening inning before she misplayed a ground ball by first baseman Sarah Buskirk. The right fielder then could not handle a fly ball by Jaymee Turner. Left fielder Jayme Beckon followed with a walk to load the bases and designated hitter Amanda Clark hit a two-RBI single to center field during the next at-bat.
But Central (10-5, 8-2) had most of its production in the fourth inning. With one out, Whitney Samora singled and Cynthia Proby reached on a throwing error by the third baseman. Kari Fetters followed with a single to score Samora, and Proby reached home during the next at-bat when Naomi Stocks’ grounder was bobbled by the shortstop.
“You can’t do that against a fundamentally strong team,” Ballew said. “They’re going to take it to you.”
Which is exactly what occurred.
Bartlett followed with a walk to load the bases. Buskirk then hit a two-RBI single to right field to extend the Cougars’ advantage to 6-0. Consecutive singles by Turner and Beckon increased their lead to 8-0 before Cunningham struck out Clark and Samora flew out to deep left field to end the inning.
Another run by Central in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly that scored Proby extended its lead to 9-0 and made another South comeback improbable.
On Tuesday, Wolves’ junior Charlene “Charlie” Brown was called by Ballew to pinch-hit against Wilson after she had used all of her available players. Brown was sitting with her junior-varsity teammates at the time, but entered the game and hit a pitch from Janessa Flynn that scored Ransier and Box for the win.
“She got a chance to come in and she sure took advantage of it,” Ballew said. “It was a big-time play.”
But the loss now puts South a half game behind the Rams (8-1, 8-1) in the Bridge Division. After Thursday’s game against Mount Tahoma, the Wolves host Olympia on Monday and then play a nonleague game Tuesday at Olympic. South plays at Wilson on May 3.
At Central Kitsap 9, South Kitsap 7
South Kitsap 000 002 5 — 7 9 5
Central Kitsap 200 610 x — 9 9 1
Emily Cunningham, Emily Bricks (6) and Bridjet Box. Kim Chase and Jaymee Turner.
Leading hitters: Ericka Hobson (SK) 2-3 RBI; Alexis O’Dell (SK) 2-4; Box (SK) 2-4 2B 3 RBI; Cunningham (SK) 1-3 BB HR 3 RBI; Meagan Ransier (SK) 2-3; Turner (CK) 2-2 BB RBI.
At South Kitsap 7, Wilson 6 (9)
Wilson 012 020 001 — 6 5 4
South Kitsap 014 000 002 — 7 11 5
Janessa Flynn and Taylor Clark. Emily Cunningham and Bridjet Box, Meagan Ransier (3).
Leading hitters: Alexa Olague (W) 2-4 HR; Flynn (W) 2-3; Alexis O’Dell (SK) 2-4 2 RBI; Charlene Brown (SK) 1-1 2 RBI; Cunningham (SK) 2-4.
At South Kitsap 11, Bellarmine Prep 2
Bellarmine Prep 101 000 0 — 2 6 3
South Kitsap 021 620 x — 11 12 4
Olsen, Barcena (5) and Johnson. Emily Cunningham and Bridjet Box.
Leading hitters: McLaughlin (BP) 2-4 2B; Cunningham (SK) 3-4 2B 3 RBI; Alexis O’Dell (SK) 2-4 3 RBI; Tonya Forster (SK) 2-4 3B 2 RBI; Box (SK) 2-3 3B.