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Strong hitting carries Falcons to first win over Friday Harbor
LANGLEY — South Whidbey finished off Friday Harbor fast enough by a 12-2 score to play a second non-officiated game Saturday.
The Falcon softball team downed the Wolverines in five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
By the end of the first inning, the Falcons led 6-1.
“Everyone had solid hits. We only had two strikeouts and they went down swinging hard,” said Falcon head coach Ashley Lopez, who picked up her first win as the first-year head coach.
The Wolverines (0-1 overall) had a small rally after a well-placed bunt to third base loaded the bases. Falcon junior pitcher Alex Kubeska struck out the final batter on three straight pitches, and finished with only two runs scored on her.
In the third, fourth and fifth innings, the Falcons paced their scoring at two runs each. With two outs and runners on first and third base, sophomore catcher Chantal Brown slammed a double to deep center field that scored senior Zoey Maeser and freshman Anne Madsen.
The Falcons (1-0 overall) were flawless in the fourth inning defensively. Kubeska fielded a grounder near the pitcher’s circle and threw out Wolverine third baseman Elizabeth Taylor. Brown caught a popped up bunt behind home plate, and a running error by Isabel Place sent South Whidbey back to the batters boxes.
Kubeska drove a single to left field, then stole second base while sophomore Mackenzie Hezel was batting. Hezel hit a single to shallow left field that kept Kubeska at third. First-year fastpitch center fielder Ellie Greene drove Kubeska home on a single to right field. Maeser hit a fielder’s choice to Wolverine pitcher Jean Melborne, who threw out Hezel at third base. South Whidbey senior Hannah Merrow scored Greene from second base on a single to right-center field to end the scoring in the fourth inning.
Kubeska almost retired the Wolverines three-up, three-down in the fifth inning. She fanned the first two Wolverines on called third strikes (Kubeska finished with seven strikeouts) and got Emily Guard to chase the third strike in the dirt, but Brown’s throw pulled Falcon first baseman Abby Hodson off the bag. It was a minor error, and quickly forgotten. Kubeska snagged Taylor’s line drive to end the would-be rally.
South Whidbey got its game-ending runners on base in a hurry in the top of the fifth inning. Brown slapped a single past first base and sophomore shortstop Haley Viers was hit by a pitch. With runners on first and second, Falcon slugger Kubeska stepped up and crushed a line drive to right-center field. Guard, the Wolverine’s center fielder, chased it down and made a stretch catch to hold the Falcons’ runners. Falcon senior second baseman Brittany Wood slapped the ball back into Melborne’s stomach and scored Brown. Viers clinched the game when she scrambled for home plate on a passed ball that got away from the Wolverine’s catcher.
The 1A Wolverines will be district competition next year, when the Falcons drop from 2A. South Whidbey hosts Cedarcrest (weather permitting) at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 15 to open Cascade Conference play.