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Fastpitch team looks good in opener

"Photo: Freshman pitcher Val Mock prepares to deliver the ball to the plate against a Meadowale batter. Her performance sparked hopes that the Falcons could enjoy their best fastpitch season in years.Jim Larsen/staff photoYou don't need a win to provide hope, as the South Whidbey fastpitch team proved in its season opener Wednesday afternoon.The AA Falcons hosted AAA Meadowdale, traditionally one of the better fastpitch teams in the area. And while the hosts did not win, the very respectable 3-0 score sparked a bonfire of hope for the future.The girls surpassed what I believed we really had, said second-year coach Renee Christian. The team is haunted by the fact it hasn't won a game in two years, but an infusion of freshman talent should help put that ghost to rest early in the 2000 season.Frosh pitcher Val Mock was the reason for much of the optimism. She threw strikes and the defense backed her up capably. Gone were the walkathons of past years and the leaky defense that put more runners on base.She threw like a house afire, said coach Christian. Mock pitched the entire game. And while the Chiefs scored three times, the runs were scattered and the Falcons were in the game to the final inning.Christian also credited shortstop Marianna Norby with sharp play, and she liked what she saw at first where Shannon Murphy scooped up a number of low throws.Meadowdale had its own good pitcher, however, and the Falcons were unable to crack a hit. The closest they came to a threat started when Mock walked and Ashley Lopez reached base on an error, to put runners on first and second. But then Meadowdale shut them down. Later, Falcon Elisha Ishii walked and stole second, but she was stranded there.The bats will come, Christian predicted. We're competitive with pitching and defense.Wednesday's game was sandwiched between two rainouts. The next regularly scheduled game is Tuesday, when the Falcons travel to Granite Falls to begin play in their new AA North Cascades League. That could be where the losing streak ends. "

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