Wave softball rolls to fourth straight district title

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 at 12:31 a.m.

All season long, P.K. Yonge's players have admittedly battled to keep their edge after jumping out to an early lead.

However, when Kaitlyn Burke stepped up to the plate with her team already up 5-0 in the second inning of Thursday's District 3-3A championship against Oak Hall, the freshman catcher was anything but taking her at-bat lightly.

Facing a full count, Burke sent a four-run blast over the center-field wall to catalyze the host Blue Wave's 15-0 win over the Eagles and fourth straight district title.

“At first, I was just swinging for the fences,” said Burke, who has three homers this season. “I just knew I was there to hit. And I guess it was just time.”

The grand slam highlighted an eight-run inning for the Blue Wave, who compiled seven hits and three steals in the four-frame game. To load the bases in the second inning for Burke, P.K. Yonge also drew two of its four total walks.

“(Burke) was 3-2 down, and I think she fouled a couple of pitches off,” Blue Wave coach Paul Silverman said. “It was a very good at-bat even before the grand slam. That really capped it off, and at that point, really put the game out of reach.”

Burke, who went 2-for-2 with two runs and four RBIs, also scored in the first inning after freshman Nikkia Robinson reached second on an Oak Hall error. The Eagles were plagued by nine errors in the game, contributing to an early hole for starting pitcher Katie-Grace Olinger.

An eighth-grader, Olinger tossed all four innings for Oak Hall and managed to strike out five batters along the way. As district runners-up, the Eagles (14-8) travel next Wednesday to play their regional quarterfinal against The Master's Academy in Oviedo.

“She's been our sole pitcher all year long, so she's been through the ups and downs of whoever we've played,” Oak Hall first-year coach Brittany Schutte said. “I have my utmost faith and trust in that kid that she's going to come and bring it come Wednesday.”

Meanwhile, P.K. Yonge junior Kalen McGill ensured the Blue Wave (25-2), who are on a 12-game winning streak, would be hosting their quarterfinal Wednesday against Daytona Beach Father Lopez at 7 p.m. by picking up her 22nd win of the season.

After pitching a no-hitter in Tuesday's district semifinal win against St. Augustine St. Joseph, McGill allowed just three Oak Hall batters to reach base, while striking out seven. At the plate, McGill walked once and also supplied the game-ending RBI in the fourth inning.

“In our last game, we came out against St. Joseph in the first inning and we were a little lackadaisical,” Silverman said. “We scored a few runs, but we didn't run the bases like we normally do. It kind of looked like we took it for granted. I let them know that, and they really responded.”

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