Eight innings of competitive fastpitch softball were quickly undone April 12 as senior Isabel Quintanilla’s three home runs, two in the ninth inning, led the visiting Emerald Ridge Jaguars to a 14-6 win over South Kitsap.
It had already been a tough two weeks for the Wolves, who came into the matchup losing three of their last four games and having two other games rained out. So to be in a position to take a victory against a top South Puget Sound League foe was a good change of pace for coach Bobby Lawrence and his team.
“What I’ve seen over the course of the season thus far is a team that’s continued to develop,” he said. “We have the athletes to take this thing a long way.”
The Wolves and Jaguars traded early blows, with sophomore Alanna Wirtala hitting a two-run homer to give the visitors the lead. South Kitsap responded in the bottom of the second when senior Elle Barnett sent a single into the outfield, driving in the tying runs.
Emerald Ridge retook the lead in the top of the third via the long ball again as Quintanilla provided her first home run of the afternoon, a two-run shot just over the centerfield fence.
The Wolves answered once more on another two-run single, this time from senior Brooke Jett in the bottom of the fourth.
A series of errors by the Wolves gifted Emerald Ridge the lead again in the top of the sixth, but junior Kamdyn Hagerty sent a no-doubter over the right-centerfield fence to secure a 5-5 tie, sending the game into extra innings.
“I was extremely pleased overall with our hitting. We left a few stranded on the bases, but for the most part, we played good sound defense,” Lawrence said.
With a runner on second via tiebreaker rules, Quintanilla crushed the ball, sending another two-run homer over the fence in the top of the ninth, leading to a nine-run inning for the Jaguars. Batting all the way through the lineup, Quintanilla was able to bat again, just in time to hit her third home run of the contest.
“She’s a heck of a ballplayer,” Lawrence said. “I’ve been watching her for years, so I expect her to be a tough at bat.”
The coach told his players after the game to shake it off.
“One bad inning that got away from us does not define who we are as a ballclub,” he said. “They just have to continue to believe in themselves and take our experiences, develop and grow from that.”