Rangers gain confidence after splitting at home

Call it a confidence-building weekend for the Olympic College fastpitch team, which opened NWAACC Northern Division action with a pair of doubleheaders at Pendergast Regional Park.

After pounding Everett 8-1 and 13-5 on Friday, March 29, the Rangers returned to Pendergast Regional Park the next day and dropped 6-0 and 7-4 games to Edmonds, the defending Northern Division champs.

“We played really well on Friday and we played well on Saturday as well,” OC coach Natalie Martin said. “A couple key plays here and there, and it’s a different outcome against Edmonds. But we showed to them, and to ourselves, that we can compete with the best the NWAACC has to offer.”

The Rangers hit the ball hard all weekend, even while getting shut out on two hits by the Tritons’ Mary Dinsmore in the first game on Saturday. Edmonds (4-0 league, 8-5 overall) took advantage of OC defensive errors to build a 7-0 lead in the second game.

“We never quit,” Martin said. “Quitting wasn’t an issue on Friday and on Saturday. We were down and kept fighting and clawing and scratching. That second game ended before we were ready to be done.”

Olympic (2-2 league, 6-5 overall) carried a .321 team batting average to Port Angeles on Tuesday, April 2 for its doubleheader against Peninsula.

Infielder Kelly Lincoln, a freshman from North Mason, was 7-9 against Everett with a home run, triple and five RBI. For the season, Lincoln’s hitting .487 (19 for 39) with eight extra base hits, 14 RBI and a .795 slugging percentage.

“Base on what we saw in the fall and in the preseason, we expected Kelly to hit for a really good average, but the amount of power she’s shown has been a very pleasant surprise,” Martin said.

First baseman Anna Bagala (.429) and outfielders Jennifer Russell (.375) and Aubrey Sumner (.371) have also been swinging potent bats. Bagala’s from North Kitsap, Russell from Olympic and Sumner, one of just two returners, is a sophomore from Central Kitsap.

Katie Leigh, a returning second baseman from Bainbridge, is currently sidelined with a broken finger. Lincoln and Stina Blockhus, a freshman from Bremerton, picked up the slack defensively at second base and shortstop over the weekend.

Pitchers Carri Lefler and Jenny MacMillan, both South Kitsap products, made their season debuts for the Rangers this weekend. Along with Linnea Tiller, they’ll carry the pitching load this season.

Speedy outfielder Jamie Satterfield (Bremerton) and catcher Michelle McGregor (Lynnwood) also saw their first action after gaining eligibility.

“I’m glad to get league going,” Martin said. “We had a real strong start (against Everett) and we proved a lot to ourselves on Saturday. Next time around, we’ll be much more prepared for what they have. We should have gained confidence that we can compete with them and compete very well.”

OC plays at Skagit Valley on Friday, April 5 and hosts Green River in a 2:30 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, April 6, at Pendergast Park.

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