The South Whidbey girls fastpitch softball team thumped Coupeville 8-0 on March 23, helped big time by pitcher Alea Robertson’s shutout on the mound. She gave up only four hits and had four strikeouts over seven innings.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm out there,” Falcon Coach Chuck Burton said. “We have an awesome group of younger talent that’s making a difference. They’ve developed an ability to recognize their situation on the field.”
By better understanding the signals and what they mean, the squad is executing plays better, the coach said.
It helps to have Robertson there as well.
“Her calmness under pressure and the solid way she works with (catcher) Amanda Spalding has been important for us,” Burton said.
“Our pitchers and catcher are starting to realize the benefit of keeping the ball low and making the batters hit the ball short into the teeth of our defense.”
Robertson didn’t feel any pressure against Coupeville, she said.
“It all depends on the runs — we had some early success so I wasn’t as worried as I might have been,” Robertson recalled. “A shutout is nice but I’m always after the win.”
The game was tight going into the sixth inning with South Whidbey leading 2 to 0.
In the bottom of the sixth the Falcon batters came alive with Samantha Pope leading off with a single and Nikki Parra followed with a bunt for a base hit.
With base runners on first and second Chelsey Backus came to the plate and laced an RBI single to right center. Spalding finished off the Wolves with a double that scored two RBI’s en route to a six-run, bottom-of-the-sixth offensive inning.
South Whidbey leads the Cascade Conference with a 2-1 record, 4-1 overall. Last year, the Falcons had a 5-15 record and found themselves close to the bottom of the league. What’s making the difference this season?
“We have great chemistry that was missing last year for some reason,” said senior Teah Wanamaker. “Everybody has shown a lot of effort; no one is just showing up and going through the motions.”
First baseman Pope thinks she knows why the team is doing so well.
“There’s no drama going on between us,” she said. “The girls are focused on winning while having a good time playing ball.”
Pope, who made the final out at first against Coupeville, admitted she gets nervous before games. “But then I calm down when the action starts.”
Robertson agreed with her mates.
“Last year we had a new coach and we weren’t sure of each other,” she said. “We’re meshing with his style so the attitude and intensity is way up — all of us want to be here and play.”
Burton returned the favor.
“Alea has been solid at pitching so far this season and her leadership on the field has been just as important,” he said.
On Monday the girls battled to the last with a runner on third but Lakewood had the hot bats and the Falcons lost 8-7.
“We ran it to the last pitch but we made one too many errors,” Burton said. “It’s all part of the learning process but I’m proud they kept their heads in the game all the way.”
At 4 p.m. Friday, March 30, the Falcons welcome second-place Archbishop Murphy to the high school field.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.