Saturday, June 24, 2017 This Week's Paper

Lions’ tough week ends in loss to South Kitsap

// Bellarmine still in position for playoffs

It was a week full of a common, unpleasant theme for the Bellarmine Prep softball team. Facing a chance for a big win against a top league foe for the third time in four days, the Lions suffered a narrow defeat, falling 6-4 to South Kitsap at home on April 26.

“It’s a tough league,” said Bellarmine Prep head coach Craig Coovert, noting one-run defeats to first-place Olympia and third-place Gig Harbor earlier in the week. “We know we’ll get a chance come postseason, so all we can do is keep trying to get better and win our final two league games before the tournament.”

With ace pitcher Courtney Schwan out of town for a volleyball tournament, senior Rachel Barcena – who was battling illness – valiantly took the mound for the Lions. After retiring the Wolves in order in the first, Barcena helped herself out at the plate in the bottom half by doubling with one out and scoring two batters later on Becca Sorenson’s squeeze bunt. Alex DeStephano made it 2-0 by scoring on a wild pitch after earlier drawing a walk.

Bellermine still in position for playoffs

South Kitsap pitcher Ashley Chamberlin cut it to 2-1 in the top of the second after reaching on an error and later scoring on a passed ball. Hannah Spohn tied it an inning later with a double to score Alissa Buss, and Haley Romo followed two batters later with a single to score Spohn. But the Lions responded in the bottom half, as DeStephano tied it again by singling and scoring on Alexa Ostrander’s infield single. Celine Woo followed with a bunt single to score Sorenson, regaining the lead for the Lions at 4-3.

“Today we came out and scored most of our runs on bunting and slapping, putting the ball in play and putting the game in motion,” said Coovert, noting that they had focused on small ball in practice the day before. “Now we just need to build on that.”

But the lead was short lived, as Mackenzie Bergstrom led off the Wolves’ fourth with a triple and scored on Madison Watson’s double. Watson and Chelsea Foster then later scored on an error, giving South Kitsap a 6-4 lead.

Freshman Erica Grenlund came on in the fifth to relieve Barcena, escaping a bases-loaded jam by getting Foster to hit into a double play. Grenlund shut out the Wolves the rest of the way, allowing just two hits and one walk.

“She has hardly pitched all year and she was able to shut them down,” Coovert said. “It’s nice to get some good out of a loss.”

The Lions were only able to manage one hit in the final three innings against Chamberlin, who retired the final six batters in a row.

But Bellarmine responded with a big win on April 29, winning 3-1 over Central Kitsap behind DeStephano’s two-run single in the first inning. Schwan also returned to pitch a complete game – allowing just one run on two hits, with no walks and six strikeouts – to help the Lions remain in position for the postseason.