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OC softball sweeps Edmonds
Jessica Cabato wants her team to learn to sweep — doubleheaders.
That was the message the Olympic College softball coach delivered after the Lady Rangers earned back-to-back victories, 9-0 and 4-2, against Edmonds Community College in a doubleheader at Lions Park on Tuesday.
With the two victories, OC (14-8 overall, 7-3 league) moved into third place in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) North Region and extended its winning streak to four games.
But it was just the second time in five tries this season OC swept a doubleheader against a league opponent, the first coming April 7 in 10-0 and 5-2 victories against Peninsula (3-9, 3-18).
Cabato, who led OC to a school-record 26 league victories and third-place trophy at the NWAACC postseason tournament in her first season in 2008, said the team must reverse that trend if it expects to duplicate — or exceed — the successes of last season.
In the three league doubleheaders OC didn’t sweep — against Shoreline, Bellevue and Everett — it won the first game, but lost the second.
Against Shoreline March 26, the Lady Rangers won Game 1 9-2 before losing Game 2, 4-1. Against Bellevue April 10, OC took the first game 8-7, but dropped the second game 5-0. And against Everett April 11, the team opened with a 14-3 win, but closed with a 6-4 loss.
“We need to start winning both games in our doubleheaders,” Cabato said. “We lose a little focus during our breaks (between games) and it’s hard to get it back.”
That lapse in focus was evident, albeit not destructive, once again Tuesday.
After Erika Quint struck out 10 batters in a perfect game in the 9-0 victory in Game 1, OC sputtered at the plate early in Game 2, falling behind 1-0 before scoring four runs in the fourth inning to take the lead and, eventually, the 4-2 win.
On defense, the team committed no errors in the first game, but committed three in the second.
“It’s a good start,” Cabato said of the sweep. “We have the potential to get back.”
To get back to the NWAACC tournament — the top four teams from the North Region qualify — OC will turn to Quint, who also picked up the win in Game 2.
Quint, a sophomore, is the team’s top arm and a reliable hitter. She is hitting a team-best .356.
“We put a lot of pressure on her and she handles it really well,” Cabato said. “We rely on both her arm and bat.”
Never in trouble in Game 1, which ended after five innings, Quint struck out 10 of the 15 batters she faced, also making three putouts.
“Her rise ball was working great,” Cabato said. “She was just able to overpower that team.”
And while Quint didn’t need any help from her teammates at the plate in Game 1, she received plenty, with OC pounding out 15 hits. The team added 12 hits in Game 2.
Cabato pointed to Amy Renfrow, who has six home runs on the year, and Natalie Peapea, who has eight home runs, as the team’s top bats along with Quint. Renfrow was 1-for-3 with two RBI in Game 1 and Peapea was 2-for-3 in both games.
“They are all stepping up at the plate,” Cabato said.
Keri Leaverton, who was 1-for-2 with two RBI in Game 1 and 3-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base in Game 2, is hitting .290 and has hit particularly well “in the clutch.” Carolyn Edenbo, who Cabato said has “really stepped up in the past few games,” went a combined 4-for-7 in the two games.
Now, with doubleheaders coming up against Bellevue (today), Shoreline (tomorrow) and Everett (May 2), the teams comprising the top four spots in the NWAACC North along with OC, the Lady Rangers could make or break their season in the next week.
As of Wednesday, those four teams were separated by just one loss in the league win-loss column. Bellevue and Shoreline, both 9-3 in league play, were tied for first, followed by OC and Everett (12-17 overall, 8-4 league).
“Our goal is definitely to make it to the (NWAACC) tournament and have a good showing,” Cabato said.
The OC-Bellevue doubleheader is at Bellevue, beginning at 2 p.m. today. OC visits Shoreline at 2 p.m. tomorrow.
At Olympic 9, Edmonds 0 (5)
Edmonds 000 00—0 0 3
Olympic 121 50—9 15 0
Olympic 4, Edmonds 2
Edmonds 001 001 0—2 5 3
Olympic 000 400 x—4 12 3