KINGSTON — Meghan Fenwick saw an opportunity and took it.
In the ninth inning, standing on second base as the winning run, Fenwick caught the Klahowya defense napping and stole third while the ball was in the pitcher’s hand. With no one out, all it would take to end the game was a simple fly ball.
“She saw it and took it,” said Kingston head coach Joe Schiel. “She’s a really smart player.”
Brandy Boure, already 2 for 4 with three RBI on the day, delivered, hitting a long fly ball to center field. Fenwick, an adept base runner, scored easily and the Bucs walked off with a 9-8 victory on Wednesday.
“Best game all year,” Schiel said after the game, breathing a sigh of satisfaction.
It was a clean, well-played game by both sides that initially looked like it would be another high-scoring affair — similar to Kingston’s 14-13 win over Klahowya two weeks ago — but the middle innings had the distinct characteristics of a pitcher’s duel before the offenses exploded again.
Klahowya’s Madeline Wilkins opened the scoring with an RBI-groundout in the top of the first, and in the bottom half, three Kingston runs followed.
Lucy Schaeffer started things with a one-out double and she was chased home by a Boure RBI-single. Lauren Wadley then doubled and Boure scored on a subsequent wild pitch. Madison Zweifelhofer singled home Wadley and the Bucs had a 3-1 lead.
Paityn Becar brought home a run on a fielder’s choice in the third, but otherwise pitchers Shae Stevens and Keira Alvarez were on their game, inducing weak contact and getting plenty of support from their defenses.
Schaeffer in particular was a standout at shortstop for Kingston, vacuuming up any ground ball that came near her and showing good range on several difficult catches. Wadley’s play at third base was consistently sharp and clean, making tough throws look easy.
“[The defense] was really solid today,” Boure said. “I thought it was the best defense we’ve had.”
It looked like the Bucs were going to cruise to victory after a five-run fifth inning. Amie Venneman, Alvarez and Schaeffer all singled to open the frame and Fenwick worked a walk to bring home the first run. Boure then sent a sizzling ground ball back up the middle to bring in two more. After Fenwick stole home as part of a double steal, Zweifelhofer smoked a line drive into center field to score a fifth run.
But the Eagles rallied with their backs to the wall in the seventh, rattling off six consecutive hits to tie the game at 8.
Sarah Greene cut the lead to 8-3 with an RBI-single that was followed by a Madeline Wilkins double. Breanna Williamson, Becar and Kayla Hendricks then each knocked in runs with singles and the deficit was just two runs.
Shelby Perkins, who had recently entered the game, then went to the plate for the first time in the game and blasted a two-RBI double.
Zweifelhofer came on in relief and shut the door, pitching 2.2 innings of shutout and no-hit ball, allowing just two base runners on walks.
With four league games to go, the Bucs are hoping to continue the momentum, especially with two games against Bremerton next week. If the defense can continue to minimize mistakes and the bats stay hot, the season should end on a positive note.
“If we could just tie all this together life would be good for us,” Schiel said.
Kingston 9, Klahowya 8 (9 innings)
KL 1 0 1 0 0 0 6 0 0 — 8 10 0
KI 3 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 1 — 9 12 1
WP: Zweifelhofer LP: Stevens
Klahowya — Stevens 8.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, BB, 4 K; Devine .1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, BB.
Kingston — Skinner .1 IP, R, ER, 4 BB; Alvarez 6 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, K; Zweifelhofer 2.2 IP, 2 BB.
Klahowya — Wilkins 2-4, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 R, SB; Williamson 2-4, RBI, R; Becar 1-5, 2 RBI, R; Hendricks 1-4, 2B, RBI, BB, R; Stevens 1-3, 3 BB, 2 R, 2 SB; Perkins 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI; Greene 1-4, RBI, BB, R; Skilbeck 1-4, 2 BB.