PORT ORCHARD — It’s the kind of team of which every coach dreams. The 2018 South Kitsap High fastpitch squad has speed, athleticism, power and versatility.
While talent alone doesn’t win ball games, it’s surely a good place to start. If they are able to consistently execute and stay grounded, it could be a special season, improving upon the 11-5 record (15-9 overall) South Kitsap posted a year ago.
“Man, I’m just really looking forward to this season,” head coach Paul Cermak said. “If they play as a team, they’ve got something for everybody.”
South Kitsap has three talented arms heading the rotation. Statia Cermak, a senior who recently verbally committed to UNLV, heads that list.
But the Wolves also have strong options in Aspen Millet and Kindra Hawkinson, both of whom will see plenty of time in the circle.
In the field, standouts include sophomore shortstop Lynden Wolf, outfielders Alexis Gojkovich and Raechelle Seil, and catchers Jordynn Lawrence and Piper Jacquemart.
At a practice on March 12, the day before the team’s first game against Peninsula, Cermak said every player on the roster is capable of making meaningful contributions.
“I’m doubled up at virtually every position,” Cermak said. “I’ve got three strong pitchers, two strong catchers. I said this to someone else the other day: as far as hitting, I’d show the opposing coach my roster, let him pick my nine and I’d be fine with it.”
This depth was on full display at their March 12 practice as they ran the four corners drill, in which players line up at each base and continuously whip the ball around the field. Every single player threw the ball with accuracy, strength and confidence.
The Wolves also feature plenty of speed, which Cermak said will be necessary come playoff time as the quality of competition goes up and runs are at a premium.
“When you get to playoff time and you face the really good pitchers, they’re not going to let you drill it over the fence,” Cermak said. “You’ve got to beat them with small ball and speed, and we have a lot of really fast players.”
Expectations will be high. The South Puget Sound League is never an easy place to play, but Cermak said he is more focused on building a strong team bond to make this season a memorable one.
“All I expect from them is to go out on game day, celebrate the game, have a good time and believe in themselves,” Cermak said. “They’ve all earned the right to be confident in their positions.”
March 13, 4 p.m. at Peninsula | March 15, 4 p.m., Port Angeles | March 19, 4:15 p.m. at Olympic | March 20, 4 p.m., Graham-Kapowsin | March 22, 4 p.m. at Sumner | March 26, 4 p.m., North Kitsap | March 29, 4 p.m. at Puyallup | April 2, 4 p.m. at Bellarmine | April 3, 4 p.m., Olympia | April 10, 4 p.m., Curtis | April 12, 4 p.m. at Graham-Kapowsin | April 17, 6:30 p.m. at Rogers | April 18, 4 p.m., Emerald Ridge | April 20, 4 p.m. Puyallup | April 24, 4 p.m. at Olympia | April 25, 4 p.m., Bellarmine | April 27, 4 p.m., Sumner | May 3, 4 p.m. at Curtis | May 8, 4 p.m., Rogers | May 10, 4 p.m. at Emerald Ridge.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com.