PORT ORCHARD — South Kitsap High’s first-year coach Paul Cermak was raving about his team’s depth before the season started, and it was on full display in the Wolves’ 10-4 victory over Port Angeles on March 15.
It seems every Wolf in the pack can hit as they rapped out 11 of them against the Roughriders’ pitchers. Statia Cermak led the way, going 2 for 3 with a home run, double and 2 RBI — and while the UNLV-commit is certainly the anchor in the lineup, she was far from a one-woman show.
“Our team is super good, our team can hit really well,” the younger Cermak said. “We’re set up to go far.”
The head coach called on several of the team’s younger players to play big roles. All three freshmen on the roster — Katelynn Johnston, Aubrey Faucett and Marisol Bergstrom — saw significant playing time. Johnston, in particular, stood out with a two-run single in the five-run sixth that broke open the game.
“I’m not building this team for now, especially non-league games,” said Cermak, who received a Powerade bath in celebration of his first varsity win.
“I’m building this team for the playoffs at the end.”
The Roughriders looked as though they were going to give South Kitsap all it could handle early on, scoring in the top of the first after Sierra Robinson opened the game with a bunt single. Robinson stole second and was eventually brought home on an RBI groundout by Natalie Steinman.
But the Wolves quickly took control. Cermak launched an opposite-field home run, her second of the season, in the bottom of the first, and then the Wolves exploded for four runs in the second inning. Jordynn Lawrence struck the big blow, knocking in a run with a hard single.
Aspen Millet took the reins in the pitching circle. Although she did not strike out a batter in her four innings of work, she consistently induced weak contact and her fielders took care of the rest.
“All three of [our pitchers] are so different,” Cermak said. “Aspen is off-speed, but has lots of movement, it makes them crazy.”
In the top of the sixth, the Riders got back in the game on back-to-back home runs by Jaida Cargo and Madi Roening. That cut the lead to 5-4, but South Kitsap responded well in the bottom half of the inning.
Teanna Lathum led off with a ringing double into the left-center field gap.
Shortstop Lynden Wolf followed with a single and Cermak doubled home Lathum. After Lawrence reached on a fielder’s choice and Alexis Gojkovich walked, Johnston gave the Wolves a 9-4 lead with her two-run single.
Naioki Marion then plated the final run with an RBI-single.
South Kitsap 10, Port Angeles 4
PA 1 0 0 0 1 2 0 — 4 9 2
SK 1 4 0 0 0 5 x — 10 11 0
WP: Millet LP: Hall
Port Angeles — Hall 1.2 IP, 4 H 4 R, 3 R, 4 BB, 2 K; O’Conner 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 BB.
South Kitsap — Millet 4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB; Hawkinson 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K.
Port Angeles — Steinman, 2-4, RBI, BB; Roening 2-3, HR, RBI; Cargo 1-1, HR, RBI; O’Connor 1-4, 2B, RBI; Robinson 1-3, R, SB, BB.
South Kitsap — Cermak, 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB; Lawrence, 1-2, 2 R, 2 BB, RBI; Wolf, 2-4, 2 R; Gojkovich 0-1, 1 R, 3 BB; Johnston 1-4, 2 RBI; Marion 2-4, 2B, RBI; Lathum 2-4, 2B, 2 R.
Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@sound publishing.com.
For more local and regional sports coverage, visit KitsapDailyNews.com.