Cougar fastpitchers don't stay down long

For seven outings, the Central Kitsap Cougars didn’t lose a fastpitch game.

Heck, they didn’t even give up a run.

Those streaks came to an end on Friday, April 12, when South Kitsap ambushed the Cougars 3-1 in a Narrows League contest in Port Orchard.

On Monday, April 15, the Cougars were on the road again. And in danger of losing again as North Kitsap jumped up 2-0 in the first inning.

It was nearly 3-0 when the Vikings’ Heather Case drove a ball to right field in the second inning, but Central’s Kara Welling made an off-balance running catch near the foul line.

“If Kara misses that ball, they’re up 3-zip and I don’t know if we come back,” said Central Kitsap coach Bruce Welling after his team had rallied for a 7-2 victory.

Central pulled even in the third inning on Kara Griepentrog’s two-run, bases-loaded double. Griepentrog had a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate, also singling in a run in the sixth when the Cougars capitalized on a series of North Kitsap mistakes. Welling capped the rally with a two-run triple.

At one point during the inning, North opted to walk CK’s Jackie Quint intentionally, but NK pitcher Shana McLaughlin got the ball too close to the plate and Quint reached out and slapped the 3-0 pitch to the right side, catching the Vikings by surprise. North booted the ball, allowing a run to score.

“You can’t give them opportunities,” NK coach Dan Kolda said of the Cougars. “If we could have played clean, I think we could have closed the door on them. Often times, these games are not won, they’re lost. We just kind of handed it back to them.”

By then, Quint had settled into a groove for the Cougars. The junior pitcher finished with 11 strikeouts and two walks, one which was intentional.

The other walk was the first given up by a Central Kitsap pitcher this season.

“I think that’s pretty phenomenal,” Welling said, “especially when you consider we’re using three different pitchers.”

Ah, yes. Pitching. Everybody knew it would be Central’s strength, and it certainly has been with the talented trio of Quint, Jackie Miller and Sheena Stangler putting up goose eggs.

“Their pitching gives them the edge over everybody else in the league,” Kolda said. “They don’t give up much anywhere else either, but mainly it’s the pitching. You mix that pitching with solid defense and good hitting, it makes them the class of the league.”

Kolda was impressed with Quint, but he knew she’d be tough. Quint pitches for the Diamond Dusters U-18 team he coaches and has worked closely with her.

“She’s probably the best pitcher,” Kolda said, emphasizing the word pitcher. “She really mixes it up. She just knows how to pitch, if you know what I mean. Miller’s probably the best athlete. She can just overpower you. Sheena’s got the best changeup around. She’s just a great compliment to those other two.”

Ashley Ellingsen tripled in a run in the first inning and scored on an error to give North it’s early lead, but Quint was tough to deal with after that.

“Jackie pounded us on the inside corner,” Kolda said. “The ump was giving it to her, and to her credit, she read it and kept going to it.”

Central (5-1 league, 8-1 overall) was going to start Miller against Port Angeles at home on Tuesday, April 16. North Kitsap (3-3, 7-4) played at South Kitsap (3-2, 6-4) on Tuesday.

Olympic 2, at Port Angeles 1 — The Trojans scored the game-winning run in the fourth inning on a suicide squeeze bunt by Crystaleann Santos, who scored Sarah Lake. Lauren Haas scattered six hits to pick up the pitching victory for the Trojans (2-4 league, 4-5 overall) on Monday.

Klahowya 8, at Eatonville 0 — The Eagles improved to 5-2 in league and 7-2 overall by winning a Monday game that was called after five innings because of rain. Kaitlin Henning pitched a one-hitter and improved to 4-0 on the season. Henning also had two hits and two RBI.


At North Kitsap 9, Central Kitsap 5 — Josh Goffin hit a 2-run homer for the Cougars (2-5 Narrows League) but it wasn’t enough as the Vikings (3-4 Narrows League, 5-5-1 overall) picked up a crucial win between two teams chasing the league’s fourth and final playoff spot. The Cougars rallied for a run in the seventh and brought the tying run to the plate, but NK brought in pitcher Brian Leibold, who got a strikeout to end the game.

At Central Kitsap 6, Bremerton 5 — The Cougars weathered a late Bremerton rally to pick up the win on Friday, April 12. Greg Hlebechuk, Jake Higgs and Adam Skillbeck all had two runs. Higgs and Skillbeck drove in two runs each for the Cougars.

North Kitsap 11, at Olympic 7 — Jordan Duncan had two homers and a double for the Trojans, but North pounded out 14 hits to beat Olympic at the Fairgrounds on Friday, April 12. Duncan, a junior, now has five home runs.

At Port Townsend 4, at Klahowya 0 — The Eagles’ two-game winning streak ended on Friday, April 12. Justin Marsh-Quinlan pitched a complete game for improving Klahowya, which was held to four hits.

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