West Side softball off and running
The defending District 3 champions are at it again.
With two games down in this year’s district tournament, the Warwick West Side 12-year-old all-star softball team put itself on the verge of claiming the title for the second constructive year.
Behind dominant pitching from Katrina Kazen and explosive hitting all the way through the lineup, West Side is 2-0 in the tournament and has defeated its two opponents by a football-like 41-0 combined score.
“These girls eat and sleep softball,” said West Side head coach Frank Brown. “They live right now for softball. There isn’t a day that goes by where they don’t want to practice, don’t want to be on the field. As a coach, you can’t ask for much more than that.”
West Side was scheduled to play for the district title on Monday, with results unavailable at press time. See Thursday’s Beacon for full coverage.
On Wednesday, West Side got its tournament off to a blazing start with a 22-0 victory over East Greenwich in a game that lasted only four innings due to the mercy rule.
West Side jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, then blew the game wide open with an 18-run second inning.
“Our bats are incredible,” Brown said. “There isn’t one girl in the lineup that can’t hit the ball hard.”
Kazen did the job on the mound, as she pitched the first two innings before Kaylyn Ciesielski came in for the final two innings and slammed the door.
That victory advanced West Side to the winner’s bracket final, and it picked up right where it left off. Playing South Kingstown, West Side grabbed 15 runs in the first inning en route to a 19-0 win.
“We are playing very good,” Brown said. “We are tremendously aggressive on the bases and hitting.”
On the mound, Kazen pitched all four innings to earn her second win of the tournament. In six innings pitched so far, she has allowed no runs on only one hit. Just three batters have reached base at all.
“She’s been lights out,” Brown said. “She’s only allowed three base runners in two games.”
At the plate, catcher Olivia King is leading the way from her No. 2 spot in the order. She has three inside-the-park home runs in the two games the team has played.
But she has been far from the only bright spot.
“Everybody can hit,” Brown said. “We’re solid from one through 12. Even our substitutions, when they come in we don’t lose much. All 12 of these girls could be starters.”
West Side was slated to take on Westerly in the finals. Westerly lost its first game of the tournament 15-13 to South Kingstown, but then rallied to beat East Greenwich, Narragansett and South Kingstown to reach the finals.
“We have returning players, but the girls that we did move up are coming from a lower all-star level,” Brown said. “They all can play.”