Kitsap softballers showcase skills at north vs. south all-star game

Central Kitsap outfielder Julie Fergus snags a fly ball Thursday. - Aaron Managhan/staff photo
Central Kitsap outfielder Julie Fergus snags a fly ball Thursday.
— image credit: Aaron Managhan/staff photo

When Lane Dowell, acting as PA announcer at the fifth annual Benik Corporation Softball Showcase, announced the MVP for the all-star doubleheader, the winner was as surprised as anyone.

It certainly wasn’t an honor Central Kitsap junior Carolyn Cross expected to receive.

“I really was not expecting it at all actually,” Cross said. “There’s a lot of seniors who are really good. I’m excited, shocked, amazed. All that.”

Cross’ award was one of several highlights for Central Kitsap, Olympic and Klahowya softballers Thursday at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Ballfields. While CK and KSS players teamed up with players from Kingston and North Kitsap to form the North All-Stars, the South All-Stars featured Oly, North Mason, Bainbridge and South Kitsap athletes.

“It’s really good because we know everyone,” Cross said. “It’s a good to end the season.”

Cross, who started the first game, which ended in a 3-3 tie, and pitched relief in the second game (a 7-3 South win), also had a strong bat, hitting 3-for-4 with a run in the nightcap. Legendary local softball coach Dick Thompson, a longtime Diamond Dusters coach, presented the MVP honor to Cross, which included a new softball bag.

In the opening game, Cross went 2-for-3. But her highlights weren’t the only ones in a doubleheader that featured a little bit of everything.

Klahowya junior pitcher Kazandra Holliday started the nightcap while pitching relief in the opener. She did rip a two-run double in the loss however. In that same game, Central Kitsap outfielder Naomi Stocks went 2-for-4, while Olympic senior Rachel Haas went 1-for-2 with an RBI in helping the South win. Haas got hits in both her at-bats in the first game, including a double, while fellow Oly senior Kelsey Anchors also hit a double in the opener.

With a total of 14 seniors on the all-star rosters, Olympic junior Lexi Orteza, who scored in the nightcap, said it was fun to send the seniors out in style.

“Yeah, it was really fun just playing with the seniors for the last time,” Orteza said of all the school’s seniors. “I’ve known so many of those players.”

With so many of the players from the various schools competing with and against one another in school ball and summer ball, all had fun on the diamond in the official prep-season closer.

“More than half these girls played on a team with me in the summer league,” Cross said of the South team. “It’s like, ‘Yeah, I want to strike you out.’”

But friendly rivalries weren’t the only relationships fostered at the games.

“It was kind of weird at first,” Klahowya senior Kelsey Kobloth said, playing with girls she’s faced all season. “But they’re all really nice. It was actually really fun.”

Kobloth said it was easy to see the change in competitiveness throughout the games as girls got more comfortable with their new teammates and opponents.

“I think we started really competitive,” she said of the games. “But then, toward the end, we were all buddy-buddy. We were talking to each other on the bases. It turned into just for fun, which it better I think.”

The North, which featured Cross, Stocks, catcher Katie Hanten and outfielder Julie Fergus from Central Kitsap and infielder Meika Bumbalough, catcher Jocylynn Meadows, Kobloth and Holliday from Klahowya, scored first in the opener, building a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning before the South, featuring Orteza, Haas, catcher Athena Rosario and outfielder Kelsey Anchors from Olympic, scored three in that frame. North Mason senior Kylee Hull led the South with a 2-for-4 effort, driving one in while scoring a run as well. The North later tied the game with a run in the top of the seventh. The games did not go into extra innings.

In the nightcap, it looked like the North would get the win early, scoring three in the first for an early lead. But the South scored all seven of its runs in the second, third and fourth innings to hand on to the 7-3 win despite being outhit 12-to-8 by the North.

The North was coached by Kingston’s Joe Schiel while South Kitsap coach Kathy Ballew led the South all-stars.

For Orteza, it made the Trojans want to get next season started already.

“It is definitely a good way (to end the year),” she said. “It’s a lot of fun. And we can focus on the future now. It makes me want to bring everyone back, bring back the enthusiasm and have a good season.”

For senior Kobloth, it was her first appearance at the games.

“I’ve never been here before,” she said. “It’s exciting to end it this way.”

But perhaps the best feeling, she said, was being able to represent her school.

“It’s really nice,” Kobloth said. “Our other teammates came out to watch us. I feel proud.

“It’s a good way to end.”

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