Sports

Fastpitch: For Wolves, a grand finish

For those fans and followers of Sequim fastpitch who don’t know, here’s a tip: Never leave a game early.

Especially when it involves Port Angeles.

In yet another classic battle between peninsula rivals, Sequim overcame a six-run deficit with seven runs in the sixth inning, capped by Rylleigh Zbaraschuk’s grand slam, to edge the Roughriders 8-7 on April 11.

The win not only keeps Sequim (6-0 in league and overall) in first place in the Olympic League but also keeps alive a 35-game winning streak dating back to 2010.

“We had a couple of costly errors; I was a little worried,” Sequim head coach Mike McFarlen said. “(But) it was just a matter of time before we hit.”

Sequim opened the scoring in the first inning after Zbaraschuk tripled and Bailey Rhodefer followed with an RBI single.

Port Angeles surged ahead with four runs in the third inning off Sequim starter Makayla Bentz, getting RBI hits from Emily Drank and Tori Holcolmb.

Port Angeles pushed that lead to 7-1 with three runs in the fifth.

Meanwhile, Roughrider starter Lauren Curtis was shutting the Wolves down, allowing just two hits and two walks in innings 2-5.

But in the sixth, back-to-back-to-back singles by Demiree Briones, Alexas Besand and Hannah Grubb plated a run, sparking the rally. After Columbia Haupt walked to load the bases and Haley Montelius struck out, MaryLu Clift singled home two more runs, closing the gap to 7-4. Bentz walked to load the bases again, setting the stage for Zbaraschuk, who drove her home run to right center.

“I thought it had a chance (to go out), for sure,” McFarlen said. “She knew it. She had the jog down from the beginning.”

Bentz finished off the Riders in the ninth for her third win, giving up a two-out walk before getting Kearsten Cox to pop up to first base.

Bentz survived the seven-inning affair — only Sequim’s second game to go the full seven innings in six games — with a 154-pitch effort. She walked six and struck out four.

Bentz has started back-to-back games for the Wolves, who are using a two-pitcher rotation for the first time since 2009. Briones had started 47 of the past 53 games.

“I have full confidence with both of them,” McFarlen said. “We still have got to play defense.”

Sequim out-hit the Riders 11-9.

Briones was 3-for-4 at the plate, Zbaraschuk had two hits to go along with four RBIs and Besand had two hits.

Holcolmb paced the Port Angeles offense with a 2-for-3 day at the plate and three RBIs. Meleny Fors added two RBIs.

Sequim was slated to host North Kitsap on April 16.

The Wolves are in Silverdale for two league games this week, at Klahowya on April 18 and Olympic on April 20. Sequim hosts Port Townsend on April 23.

Sequim wears down Bremerton

For five innings, Bremerton’s Knights kept it close with the defending state champs.

But Sequim erupted for a nine-run sixth inning to defeat their hosts 13-0 in a six-inning, mercy rule-shortened league win on April 9.

Zbaraschuk homered, tripled and drove in three runs while Hannah Grubb added three hits (including a triple) and two RBIs to pace Sequim’s offense.

Briones had four hits and Haupt added a steal and two RBIs in the win.

Bentz went the distance, striking out four Knights and giving up just two walks and three hits.

Bremerton committed seven errors. Rachael Pratt, who took the loss for Bremerton after giving up 19 hits and 10 earned runs, paced her team’s offense with a 2-for-3 day at the plate.

Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.

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