Senior catcher Drew Camacho among only three returners to South Kitsap’s fastpitch team this season.

Senior catcher Drew Camacho among only three returners to South Kitsap’s fastpitch team this season.

FASTPITCH PREVIEW | Early struggles have not dampened the Wolves’ spirits

New coach Outhwaite praises youthful talent within program

South Kitsap entered this week winless, but that has not quelled the Wolves’ enthusiasm under first-year coach Mindi Outhwaite.

As the rhythmic sounds from a variety of contemporary songs emitted from a stereo in the dugout, players worked on various hitting drills. Senior right fielder Shelby Reyes, who signed with teammate, catcher Drew Camacho, to play next season at Shoreline Community College, said it is a much different environment than the last two seasons. That is when Jessica Cabato, who now is the coach at Olympic High School, guided the Wolves.

“It’s a lot different,” Reyes said. “Jessica was very strict in what she wanted to do. Mindi … she’s a little more laid-back.”

Outhwaite, a 1998 South graduate who later pitched at Limestone College in South Carolina and Seattle University, said that fits her coaching philosophy.

“We definitely are trying to make it a fun learning experience and perfecting the skills they’re coming here with,” she said. “It’s a fun environment.”

The practice atmosphere is not the only different element this year. Beyond Camacho, Reyes and senior shortstop Hayley Romo, the roster has been overhauled from last season, when the Wolves finished with a 13-10 record and advanced to the Class 4A West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament.

“It’s a young team,” Outhwaite said. “But it’s a great team — lots of talent.”

Camacho said freshman pitcher Statia Cermak has stood out among the newcomers.

“Statia has a lot of speed and movement on her ball,” she said. “Even the umpires compliment her change-up, which [fools] pretty much all of the batters. Other pitchers are fast — and some have movement — but she has both.”

While the program lacks experience on the mound, Outhwaite said she likes that Cermak and fellow pitcher Diavionne DeWalt both are freshmen with an opportunity to develop. Outhwaite describes DeWalt as “very promising” on the mound.

Both Cermak and DeWalt also are staples within South’s lineup. Through their first three games, the Wolves only have scored 12 runs. But given the team’s youth — South also has four sophomores on varsity — Outhwaite is confident her team will continue to improve.

“There are a lot of promising hitters in our lineup,” she said. “We’re learning from every game and we really have a lot of talent.”

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