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Fastpitch | Cougars beat rivals South Kitsap in a close one
It was more dramatic than artistic.
South Kitsap’s late rally fell short when Chelsea Foster’s fly ball died at the warning track to end the Wolves’ sloppy 5-4 loss Wednesday against Central Kitsap at Linder Field.
“Chelsea had a great stroke,” South coach Jessica Cabato said. “It was a good catch in right field. Nothing we can do about that.”
The setback snapped an eight-game winning streak for South (8-2 overall, 5-1 league). The Wolves last lost 5-3 during their March 18 season-opener against Peninsula.
South won each of the last two years against the Cougars (6-5, 3-3) at Linder and it appeared the Wolves had a strong possibility of extending that streak after they defeated CK 9-0 on March 26. Cabato said lingering thoughts of that game might have created a problem for her team.
“They might have been a little overconfident,” she said. “The mindset might not have been quite right. The focus might not have been quite right.”
During that contest, South scored seven times during the first three innings. But in the rematch, the Wolves did not score until the third inning against CK starter Caylee Coulter.
“They have a little habit of sitting back and waiting,” Cabato said. “I think they’re realizing that’s not the way to do it. We have to come out and jump on people right at the beginning.”
South finally capitalized on a pair of two-out hits in the third inning on consecutive singles by Hannah Spohn and Hayley Romo. Spohn then scored when Ashley Chamberlin reached on a miscue by the shortstop —one of seven Cougars’ errors. Designated hitter Maddie Watson followed with a single to score Romo.
But CK took a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning when Coulter hit a two-out RBI single off Chamberlin and Mary Barga followed with a two-RBI single. Tristine Vandeman, who scored one of those runs, reached on an error at third base.
“We don’t usually makes errors,” Cabato said. “That bit us. They definitely didn’t play their best softball.”
The Wolves regained the advantage, 4-3, in the fifth inning when Shelby Reyes, who hit a leadoff single, scored when Romo reached on an error. Romo then scored on a single by Chamberlin.
But every time South scored, the Cougars responded.
Center fielder Kayla Clausen dove for a hit by Tiffani Ferrell, but just missed it and the ball drifted to the wall. That allowed both Vandeman and Coulter to score. After shutting out Bellarmine Prep on Tuesday, Chamberlin allowed her most runs of the season. Cabato attributed some of that to the Cougars’ hitting prowess, but also to Chamberlin’s fatigue.
“She didn’t have as much pop on her ball,” she said. “The spin wasn’t quite as tight.”
Cabato expects Chamberlin and her teammates to rebound as they enter the final two weeks of the season.
“They’re playing great softball,” she said. “They’ll come more focused and ready to play.”
• Chamberlin, who announced last month that she committed to Western Nebraska Community College, signed with the program Wednesday. She was one of two Wolves’ fastpitch players to sign. Shortstop Alissa Buss is headed to Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore.
At Central Kitsap 5, South Kitsap 4
South Kitsap 002 020 0 — 4 4 2
Central Kitsap 000 302 x — 5 4 7
Ashley Chamberlin and Drew Camacho. Caylee Coulter and Tristine Vandeman.
Leading hitters-Shelby Reyes (SK) 2-3 run, Mary Barga (CK) 1-3 2 RBI, Coulter (CK) 1-1 BB RBI.
Contact Port Orchard Independent Staff Writer Chris Chancellor email@example.com or (360) 876-4414.