South Kitsap’s Jordynn Lawrence strikes a base hit against Rogers. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

South Kitsap’s Jordynn Lawrence strikes a base hit against Rogers. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

South Kitsap blanks Rogers in SPSL opener

Kaitlynn Johnston went 3 for 3 and drove in two runs on a pair of doubles

PORT ORCHARD — South Kitsap opened its league schedule this season with a team it hadn’t beaten since the league formed three years ago.

But that drought came to an end Tuesday afternoon as the Wolves blanked Rogers, 3-0. The Rams had won the previous five matchups.

Kaitlynn Johnston went 3 for 3 and drove in two runs with a pair of doubles and freshmen Maya Nehus and Jessica Fessenden combined for a six-hit shutout as South Kitsap improved to 3-0 on the season. The defense was sharp and hitters battled well against Rogers starter Selena Armendariz.

“It feels amazing, we were just talking about that in our huddle,” Johnston said. “Some of our seniors, their whole high school career, they haven’t beaten Rogers.”

A two-out rally gave the Wolves their first run. Lynden Wolf dropped in a single just past the Rogers shortstop, and then Johnston blasted a ball to deep center that brought Wolf all the way around the bases.

“That’s what gets the momentum going,” Johnston said.

Johnston struck again in the third, smashing a ball over the left fielder’s head, scoring Wolf. Naioki Marion then a hit a hard grounder through the left side of the infield and Johnston scored to give South Kitsap a 3-0 lead.

“She’s amazing, she is believing in herself, she is attacking every single ball and it’s starting to spread throughout the batting order,” said head coach Paul Cermak of his sophomore shortstop.

The Rams feature a pair of Division-I commits in Raigan Barrett (University of Washington) and Rachel Wicker (Iowa State), but Nehus and Fessenden kept them off-balance and induced plenty of weak contact.

“Give me ground balls, I don’t care about strikeouts,” Cermak said.

This gave the defense a number of opportunities to flash the leather. The first two Rogers batters reached base, but then Barrett hit a hard liner to first baseman Jordynn Lawrence, who snared it and then doubled off the runner at first. During the next at-bat, catcher Piper Jacquemart threw a laser to third base to nail Riley Stockton trying to swipe the bag.

The game ended on a nice diving grab by Teanna Lathum at second base.

“That’s what we work on every day in practice,” Johnston said. “We practice how we play, we’re trying to perfect it every single day.”

The Wolves get a whole week off from games before taking on another perennial SPSL power — Puyallup. That match takes place on March 26 at SKHS.

South Kitsap 3, Rogers 0

RG 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 6 1

SK 1 0 2 0 0 0 x — 3 10 0

WP: Nehus LP: Armendariz SV: Fessenden

Pitching

Rogers — Armendariz 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 K; Lee 2 IP, 4 H, K.

South Kitsap — Nehus 5 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, K; Fessenden 2 IP, H, 2 K.

Hitting

Rogers — Clemons 2-3; Wicker 1-3; Breer 1-2; Dawes 1-3; Barrett 1-3.

South Kitsap — Johnston 3-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI, R; Wolf 2-3, 2 R; Marion 1-3, RBI; Jacquemart 1-3; Lathum 1-3, SB.

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