SOFTBALL KL, KW off to hot starts

P itching. Hitting. Both have played key roles in Kentlake’s success on the softball diamond through the years.

P itching. Hitting. Both have played key roles in Kentlake’s success on the softball diamond through the years.


In a program that has churned out winning season after winning season, it’s one thing that often has gone unnoticed.

But there it is in the numbers. Now, eight games into the season — and, of course, eight wins — the Falcons have yet to make an error. That’s more than 50 innings on the diamond without a miscue.

“We play some pretty good defense,” Kentlake coach Greg Kaas said. “Here were are, eight games into the season and we haven’t made an error all season long. Our pitchers have confidence in the kids behind them. Teams are going to have to earn their runs against us.

“Even when we don’t play our best game, we can rely on what’s made us successful.”

And, for the Falcons, that’s all of the above. But Tuesday afternoon against Tahoma, when the Falcons’ bats went cold, Kentlake turned to its other two strengths: pitching and defense.

Felecia Harris, who is battling back from October shoulder surgery, gutted out her first seven-inning performance of the year and Juliann Harnett supplied a key run-scoring double in the fourth inning as the Falcons turned back the Bears, 3-2.

It was Kentlake’s’ 23rd consecutive South Puget Sound League North Division win, a streak that dates back to April 4, 2006, when it lost to Kentwood, 8-3.

The win helped Kentlake (4-0 in league, 8-0 overall) remain in the driver’s seat for its second straight division title.

But this year’s Kentlake team has taken a different path to success than last. Harris struggled through Tuesday’s win over Tahoma, striking out five and walking eight. Last year, she walked just six batters all season long and struck out 239 batters in 113 innings of work.

“It’s going to be a process with her,” admitted Kaas in regards to Harris’ comeback.

And while Harris hasn’t been as tack-sharp as in the past, senior Caitlyn Duggan has more supplied a solid boost in the circle. Duggan has picked up three wins in the circle, including a no-hitter against Auburn and a one-hitter against Kent-Meridian.

“She waited her turn and has had to stand in Felecia’s shadow, so it’s nice to see her get the opportunity to show what she can do,” Kaas said.


Tahoma may have lost to Kentlake on Tuesday. But there certainly was a silver lining to this particular cloud.

That silver lining came in the form of freshman pitcher Sammii Jimenez, who allowed just one earned run in 6 2/3 innings pitched.

Jimenez relieved starter Kim Reese-White, who had to exit the game early with respiratory issues. Reese-White and Jimenez were the only two pitchers on Tahoma’s roster Tuesday afternoon.

While it was tough to see Reese-White have to leave after just one out, Jimenez impressed, particularly against the top team in the league. She struck out five in a losing effort.

“She showed a heck of a lot today,” Milligan said. “She really matured.”


There likely hasn’t been a better pitcher this season in the South Puget Sound League North Division than Kentwood ace Kirsten Shreve.

On Monday, Shreve worked a complete-game, 8-0 shutout of Jefferson, a team expected to contend for a playoff berth. On Tuesday, Shreve continued to dominate working five scoreless innings in a 6-0 win over Decatur.

How good has Shreve been?

Kentwood’s ace has allowed just one earned run all season and entered yesterday’s showdown against Kentlake with a streak of 22 straight scoreless innings of work. She has allowed just one earned run in 25 innings this season while striking out 34 batters.

Shreve’s flawless run has helped the Conquerors (4-0, 5-1) keep pace with Kentlake in the North Division standings as well.

But it hasn’t been all about Shreve, first-year Kentwood coach Jason Wisor stressed. A matter of fact, when it comes to pitching, the Conquerors go four deep, a luxury few high schools teams can boast of.

Behind Shreve has been Kelsey Loveland, Kayla Evans and Brooke Thomas. The contingent has combined to allow just seven runs in six games this season.

“I’ve got four kids,” Wisor said. “And with how deep we are at pitching, the key is going to be getting runs right away, then sitting back and playing defense.”