Central Kitsap’s dugout empties around home plate to celebrate Faith Schenk’s home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jacob Moore | Kitsap Daily News

Central Kitsap’s dugout empties around home plate to celebrate Faith Schenk’s home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jacob Moore | Kitsap Daily News

Central Kitsap edges out Capital, 12-11, to stay alive in postseason race

The Cougars look to continue their bid for the final South Sound Conference district spot today against Timberline

SILVERDALE — It doesn’t matter which way you look at it, a win is a win.

Central Kitsap High School softball (3-9, 6-11) survived a couple offensive outbursts from Capital (0-11, 2-14) in a nail-biting, 12-11 victory Monday. Both teams smashed home runs, re-entered their starting pitchers and struggled on the base paths. Despite that, CK held on for an important win.

As for a postseason run, Central Kitsap is still in the mix. The team controls their own destiny; if they continue winning, they’re in. If they had dropped this contest to Capital, they’d still be a contender, but the road would have narrowed.

That made the one-run differential from CK’s final score against Capital all the more nerve-racking. And for head coach Courtney Cotter — a stickler for perfection — it was a bit frustrating.

“I get a little more stressed because I know we’re better than that,” she said after the May 1 match. “I know this is a game of failure … but I’m a perfectionist so when we make those little mistakes here and there that costs us [a lot], it gets me fired up.”

Cotter went on to add that she’s lucky, though, because her players are consistently positive for most — if not the entirety — of the game.

That takes some effort when the team is down by a large margin early, just as it was on Monday when Capital jumped out to a 5-0 lead. A couple of towering home runs, including a three-run blast off the bat of Capital sophomore Teena Sanchez, put CK in the backseat.

Sophomore Gabby Story sparked a rally in the bottom half of the second inning to respond. All nine batters reached base, five of which scored, to abruptly tie the game. However, only one run was earned. A couple miscues in the field prolonged the frame.

Leading off the third inning, Story yet again sparked a rally. She singled and scored the first of six runs for CK. Capital got one back in the top of the third, but Central Kitsap owned a healthy 11-6 lead.

Capital persisted offensively, scoring one in the fourth inning to chase CK freshman pitcher Paris Agana out of the circle. A run in the fifth and three more in the sixth off junior Katelyn Turk made it a one-run ballgame. Agana came back out in the seventh to seal the win.

It’s easy to pick out plays and hits that could have changed the outcome of the game when it’s only decided by one run. For example, Central Kitsap sophomore Faith Schenk hit a solo blast in the bottom of the sixth inning that proved to be the difference. On an 0-1 pitch, she whiffed at a ball up near her eyes, triggering laughs from those in Capital’s dugout.

But Schenk got the last laugh. Down 0-2, she clobbered a pitch to right field that substantially cleared the fence for a solo blast.

“I was like, ‘You know what? Next one, I’ll get it,’ ” Schenk said. “I hit it out of the park and it was the best feeling.”

On the other side of things, the sophomore used her glove to rob Capital junior Delaney Kennedy of a home run in the fourth inning — another one of those plays that could have changed the outcome of the game.

Schenk jumped up, caught the ball to keep it in the yard, and bounced off and almost over the outfield fence. Although a runner tagged up and scored from second base, that blast could have easily been two runs and one less out instead.

“It came, I went for it, I caught it and the next thing I knew, I was over the fence a little bit,” she said with a chuckle.

Central Kitsap is at home again for a date with Timberline (3-9, 3-12), the team that is currently in the final playoff spot. A win over the Blazers would solidify a postseason berth as the Cougars already beat Timberline earlier this season.

“We’re still fighting for a playoff spot so these games are huge,” Cotter said. “Luckily, we have the depth in the dugout to move some kids around, move them in and out. We really try to be strategic with the way we put the lineup together.”

— Jacob Moore is a reporter for Kitsap Daily News. Contact him at Jmoore@soundpublishing.com or follow him on Twitter @JMooreKDN.

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