Pirates rack up wins, injuries

Just like old times - only with different uniforms.

Former Sequim High teammates squared off on the softball diamond last week when the Skagit Valley Cardinals took on Peninsula College's Pirates on April 21, with each team taking one game.

The Pirates' win in the nightcap snapped a 12-game losing streak dating back to March 24.

"It's huge," Peninsula coach Jim Cheney said. "They were in such a rut that even if they played well it was, 'We'll give it away.' We're going to try to play .500 from here on out."

The win was only the start of a strange week that saw Peninsula (5-11, 5-20) get two more wins from Edmonds but lose several players to injuries, forcing the Pirates to forfeit a doubleheader to Everett because their active roster featured just eight players.

On April 21, Skagit's Cardinals, led by former Wolf Chantal Hughes, erupted in the top of the sixth inning for nine runs to stun the Pirates 11-3 in a mercy-rule shortened, six-inning game.

In game two, the Pirates got revenge by following the Cardinals' lead: score big in one inning. Peninsula pushed across seven runs in the third inning for a 7-4 lead and held on for a 10-7 victory.

Brittany Norton got the win while Carly Swingle finished the last two-plus innings, getting Hughes to ground in a crucial at-bat in the sixth.

"We play well with and against each other," Swingle said of Hughes, the fiery, vocal leader of Sequim High's two state playoff teams in 2006 and 2007.

Hughes went 2-for-5 and played stellar shortstop in both games, but the proverbial wheels came off for Skagit in the fourth inning with Skagit holding a 4-0 lead, Sam Flett hit an RBI single and Colleen Murphy-Carey followed two batters later with a two-run double. Tasha Taylor reached on an error and scored on Swingle's RBI groundout to Hughes.

Swingle added a two-RBI hit an inning later for insurance as the Pirates took a 10-4 lead.

The Cardinals chipped into Peninsula's lead but Swingle, who started the game and was replaced by Norton in the third, re-entered and shut the door.

Swingle said winning takes a load off the players, particularly being so short-handed.

"It was starting to wear down on us," she said. "It helps having an extra player."

Peninsula could have used some extra players after their wins against Edmonds on April 24.

Marquita Espinoza became Peninsula's single season home run leader and her Pirates took two games from the Tritons. But Swingle had to leave a game with tightness in her arm, Murphy-Carey re-sprained her ankle and Bethany Holt re-injured her shoulder. With just eight players on the roster, Peninsula forfeited two games to second-place Everett on April 25.

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