Sports

Falcon fastpitch team splits two over the break

Falcon thrower Katy Piehler launches a very fast softball during South Whidbey’s 7-0 win over Coupeville Wednesday. - Brian Kelly / The Record
Falcon thrower Katy Piehler launches a very fast softball during South Whidbey’s 7-0 win over Coupeville Wednesday.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / The Record

Spring break is a tough time for any team as kids take off for vacations or spend quality time with family.

Or, like shortstop Melanie Murphy, travel to Israel with her church.

Still, life goes on and the South Whidbey fastpitch softball team saw the best of times and the worst of times, losing 13-1 to Archbishop Murphy then shutting down the Wolves from Coupeville 7-0.

“The week began with a rainout on Monday against Sultan that will be rescheduled later in the month,” said Falcon coach Chuck Burton.

On Tuesday the Falcons traveled to Murphy to face a quick-footed and fast base-running team, currently second in the Cascade Conference.

“The players for ATM put the ball into play and when we didn’t field the ball clean on defense, we didn’t have a chance to get the batter at first,” Burton said.

Outfielder Natasha Roberts said Murphy’s pitcher wasn’t that good. “She wasn’t the fastest we’ve seen, but their batting was outstanding,” she said.

Burton believes a lack of aggressive play was the key.

“We need to apply that extra effort in situations like that,” he said. “Instead of diving for the ball, stretching out those few inches, we let them go by and we can’t do that. We’ve got to get our players attacking the ball and get some offense going.”

The Falcon’s sole score came in the fourth inning.

“Lead-off hitter Natasha bunted her way aboard first followed by a Shayna Grant sacrifice bunt that moved Natasha to second,” Burton said. “She stole third and was knocked in by Alannah Alber hitting the ball to second base.”

Roberts has posted 11 stolen bases this season and leads the league.

“She’s doing an awesome job for us on the base paths,” the coach said. With starting catcher Amanda Spalding away, Burton said Jazmyn Graham stayed focused behind the plate for the Falcons.

On Wednesday against their second spring break opponent, Coupeville, the team took a bit longer than Burton likes to get revved up.

“In the third inning, the Lady Falcons scored and that set the stage for the win,” Burton said.

Kelsie Dorpat batted 2-for-3, Shayna Grant went 3-for-4, and relief catcher Tylyn Linehan and Natasha Roberts both hit 2-for-4.

South Whidbey blanked Coupeville thanks to a solid pitching effort by Katy Piehler — who has two wins and one loss in league play — and reliever Mary Brown, who entered the game in the sixth inning to secure the win.

“Mary simply shut down their batters,” Burton said.

The coach felt that the girls really wanted the win, especially after the pasting they took the day before at Murphy.

Roberts was pleased as well.

“When I had my first solid hit into left field, I knew the game was going to go our way,” she said. “We all feel each day we’re getting better, especially on hitting.”

Burton had praise for those who stepped up.

“Tylyn caught a great game for her first time this year behind the plate, throwing out a Wolves base runner at second base to end the game. She played a big part in this crucial league win,” Burton said.

The Falcons are 3-4 in the league, 4-5 overall.

At 4 p.m. Monday, April 14, the girls welcome Lakewood to the home softball field.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sports@south

whidbeyrecord.com.

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