PORT ORCHARD – Every fastpitch ace pitcher thinks the mound belongs to her.
So imagine how South Kitsap High School’s Ashley Chamberlin felt when she was lifted in the seventh inning of her final home game?
She was steaming – especially after Olympia scored the game-tying run with her sitting in the dugout.
But she took out her frustration another way – with a bat in her hands.
Chamberlin, a senior, knocked in the game-winning run with a single to left center in the bottom of the seventh inning, lifting the Wolves to an 8-7 victory over Olympia in the matchup of the top two 4A Narrows League teams Wednesday afternoon.
With Hannah Spohn on second base, and Hailey Romo at first, Chamberlin laced a 2-2 fastball from Bears’ ace Maddy Stensby that carried far enough between two outfielders that Olympia had no real chance to throw out Spohn at home plate.
Even though Olympia (14-3, 7-2 in Narrows 4A) and South Kitsap (10-3, 7-2) are tied for the lead, the Wolves hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their season sweep over the Bears. South Kitsap won the earlier meeting in Olympia, 9-3.
“It has been our goal from the beginning,” said first-year Wolves’ coach Jessica Cabato, a former Central Kitsap pitcher. “This is where we want to sit.”
As exciting as the 21/2-hour game was, it had as much adventure as it did down-to-the-wire action.
Early in the game, each fielding team finished up an inning and ran into the dugout before being told to return after an umpire changed a call.
The pivotal call came in the first inning when Spohn was initially called out at home plate for not sliding, and interfering with the catcher’s ability to make a tag. But after a few minutes, the ruling was reversed – and the last of three South Kitsap runs counted.
Chamberlin’s triple to deep right center drove in two runs, and she later scored on an error to give the Wolves a 6-1 lead in the third inning.
Olympia catcher Adrianna Rupright tripled in the left-field corner to drive in a run, and scored on a wild pitch – and the Bears cut it to 6-3 in the fourth inning.
A South Kitsap fielding error led to a big sixth inning by the Bears – capped by Monica McCoy’s two-run single to center field to tie the game at 6-6.
The Wolves regained the lead, 7-6, with two outs in the sixth. Alissa Buss roped a triple down the right-field line, and scored on an infield error by the Bears.
But back-to-back, one-out singles by Olympia’s Nikki Schroeder and Stensby signaled the end of Chamberlin’s day on the mound. Maddie Watson came on in relief, but her wild pitch allowed pinch runner Katherine Muegge to tie the game at 7-7.
It all set the state for Chamberlin’s big hit. She finished the day going 3-for-3 with a walk.