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SK thwarts Trojans with eight-run inning
PORT ORCHARD Melissa Ballard wasnt surprised by her teammates failure to grasp the significance of the rally the South Kitsap High School fastpitch team pulled off against Olympic Wednesday afternoon.
Ballard, one of just two returning senior varsity players, said she was one of the few players on the team who realized the Wolves eight-run rally in the fifth inning came with two outs.
(Chantal) Boddie was the first one up (to the plate) and then we looked around a little later and saw her again (at the plate), Ballard said.
Everyone kind of figured it out by then.
With the score knotted at 4-4 after the fourth inning, SK found itself in position to manufacture the go-ahead run.
Boddie led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Brittany Miller. Heather Grinde reached base on an error, putting two runners on base with one out.
Amanda Galla followed with a popup for the second out of the inning.
Needing a base hit to break the logjam, Ballard responded with her third hit of the game a single up the middle.
Stephanie Solarek followed with an RBI single to give SK a 6-4 lead.
Olympic appeared to have stopped the bleeding when SKs Cathy Kniess hit a routine grounder to shortstop Hope Hilman.
But Hilman bobbled it, allowing another run to score.
Stephanie Mott made Olympic pay for its mistake with a scorching line drive down the right field line to score two more runs.
Savannah Starkweather followed with a single and Boddie ripped an RBI triple.
Miller added an RBI single to give SK a 12-4 lead before Grinde ended the inning with a groundout.
SK added two more runs in the sixth inning to end the game because of the 10-run rule.
Miller started the game on the mound but lasted just two innings. The sophomore had problems adjusting to the umpires small strike zone, but still managed to keep SK in the game.
Ballard came on in relief and finished with four strong scoreless innings.
While her prowess on the mound is no secret, Ballard has shown some extra pop in her bat this year.
One of her three hits against Olympic was a triple that would have had home run written all over it if she hadnt pulled the ball.
Ballard said the strength in her hitting is because of the improving health of her right wrist.
The wrist still poses enough problems she must do her schoolwork on a computer, and shes not allowed to pitch an entire game.
It still swells up on me sometimes, she said. The doctors dont really know whats wrong with it. Its getting better, though.
Because she cant pitch an entire game, Ballard said she prefers coming into the game in the later innings.
Id hate it if I started and I was on fire but then had to come out because Im not allowed to finish the game, she said. When I come in for relief, I know its my game to finish.
Offensively, Ballard said she loves the way the young Wolves are hitting the ball.
Though the division is in an early dogfight for the top spots, Ballard said shes confident SK can come out on top.
I think if our team realizes that we can hit and start relaxing well do fine, she said. All the way through the lineup we have great hitting. Its not like one half of the lineup is hitting and the other half isnt. Were strong one through nine.