South Kitsap’s bats have been hot all season long. Entering Monday’s game against Gig Harbor, the Wolves had averaged 18 runs through their first four games.
They needed to get close to that mark again as the Tides kept nipping at their heels all game long; South Kitsap prevailed in a highly entertaining 14-12 victory to improve to 5-0 on the season.
The Wolves haven’t been involved in many close games this season, and it looked as though another blowout was on the horizon after the first couple of innings, but the squad of youngsters ended up having to battle all the way to the end.
“It’s no fun to whip a team 22-0,” said South Kitsap head coach Bobby Lawrence. “These games like this where we get deep into the seventh inning, they build character and we take a lot of notes on things to work on.”
They were able to take advantage of some miscues early. After Marisol Bergstrom led off the game with a single and then stole second, she ended up coming around to score on a wild pitch. Karlee Lovett then walked, and Brooke Jett and Sarah Hoyt were both hit by pitches. Another wild pitch brought in a run and then Emma Stamp delivered an RBI single.
Throughout the inning and the game, South Kitsap was aggressive in using its speed and taking the extra base.
“We like to put defenses on their heels with aggressive base running,” Lawrence said. “And that all starts with Marisol. She’s an incredible leader out there and her speed is unmatched.”
Bergstrom has a career .522 on-base percentage and has been South Kitsap’s leadoff hitter since her freshman year. She’s off to an even better start this year with a .714 batting average and 12 stolen bases in five games. She has also scored 17 runs, thanks to a pledge between Bergstrom and regular No. 2 hitter Lovett.
“I always say that if I get on base, you have to bring me home,” said Bergstrom, who finished 4-for-5 with a double, four runs scored and two steals. “She’s held up her end of the bargain so far.”
So far, the simple deal between two teammates has worked. Lovett is second on the team with 11 RBIs, including a two-run double in the third inning that put South Kitsap ahead 9-2.
Just when it looked like the game would turn into a rout, Gig Harbor scored five runs in the fourth inning to cut the lead to 9-7. But South Kitsap was able to answer back in the bottom half of each inning.
Elly Barnett’s third home run of the season put South Kitsap ahead 11-7 in the fourth. The Wolves were able to grind out another run in the fifth as Sarah Hoyt led off with a single and Stamp walked to put runners on first and second. The two runners moved up on a groundout and then Barnett grounded out to the pitcher, but the ball was far enough up the line to score Hoyt.
Jett and Hoyt each delivered an RBI in the sixth to put the Wolves ahead 14-9. They kicked the ball around a bit in the seventh and gave up three unearned runs, but Hagerty was able to get a groundout to end the game.
“We didn’t come into the game as mentally prepared as I would have liked,” Lawrence said. “I could tell from the onset, but the girls battled, they persevered.”
South Kitsap 14, Gig Harbor 12
Gig Harbor 0 0 2 5 1 1 3 — 12 12 2
South Kitsap 4 2 3 2 1 2 x — 14 12 5
WP: Jett LP: Valdevort
Gig Harbor — Valdevort .2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB; Hartherd 5.1 IP, 10 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 6 BB.
South Kitsap — Jett 6 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 7 K; Hagerty IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 ER.
Gig Harbor — Peschek 5-5, HR, 2 RBI, 4 R; Piel 2-5, 2B, RBI, 3 R, 2 SB; Paul 2-5, 2 RBI, 2 R; Peterson 1-4, HR, RBI, R; Holland 1-5, 2B, 2 RBI.