This story was written by Chris Chancellor of the Port Orchard Independent. He can be reached at email@example.com
She tried to downplay it.
But after Tuesday’s 9-0 win against Central Kitsap, Jessica Cabato acknowledged that it was enjoyable to defeat her mentor.
“It’s really fun to go up against him,” she said.
Cabato, who starred for the Cougars and served as an assistant to longtime coach Bruce Welling last year, now is the first-year coach at South Kitsap.
The Wolves (2-1 overall, 2-0 league) needed little time to give senior starter Ashley Chamberlin a sizeable lead. After Shelby Reyes hit a one-out first-inning single, she scored when Hannah Spohn doubled to center field. Spohn then gave South a 2-0 lead when Chamberlin followed with a single.
That advantage increased to 5-0 in the second inning. Drew Camacho, Alissa Buss and Reyes all hit one-out singles. Camacho then scored on a Spohn hit to right field. Mackenzie Bergstrom later platted a pair with two outs on a single.
South added one more run in each of the next two innings off CK starter Caylee Coulter. Tessah Tremper scored on a two-out single by Reyes in the third and Chamberlin crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly from Chelsea Foster in the fourth.
The Wolves scored their final run in the fifth inning off reliever Hope Lawrence when Reyes, who went 3 for 4, singled to score Buss.
It was more than enough production for Chamberlin, who held the Cougars (2-4, 0-2) hitless through five innings.
CK’s only baserunner during that span came in the first inning when Jessica Sanchez drew a one-out walk. Chamberlin then retired 14 consecutive batters before Coulter singled to center field in the sixth inning. Sanchez also singled the following inning, but it was not enough to keep Chamberlin from earning the shutout. South won 29-0 on Friday at Stadium.
“I was throwing a lot of curveballs and changeups,” said Chamberlin, who plans to pitch next season at Western Nebraska Community College. “It was something that I worked with, so I stuck with it.”
Cabato said Chamberlin’s success also was a byproduct of strong defense. Buss made several plays at shortstop, including a barehanded snare on a tricky hop to throw out Mary Barga during the fifth inning.
“She’s a stud infielder,” said Cabato, referring to Buss. “Those are plays she makes every day at practice, but it’s always nice to see them in games.”
Welling also was pleased with how his team played defense. That was just one aspect of the game where Welling thought the Cougars played better than the result indicated.
“We only struck out twice today,” he said. “We hit the ball right at them. Another day they go through and we win.”
CK, which split the season series last year against the Wolves, will have another opportunity to defeat South when the teams meet April 17 at Linder Field in Silverdale. Barring a playoff contest, it could be the final meeting for Welling against his former pupil as he announced earlier this year that he will retire after the season.
“We have to play her at least once more,” Welling said. “Their kids are very comparable to ours. We just have to tweak some things playing her kids and we’ll be fine.