And she did.
The senior hurler sprinkled dirt in her back pocket, which helped her grip the softball as Kodiak salvaged the three-game series with Service with an 8-4 nonconference win.
This was Kodiak’s first time playing on the multimillion-dollar turf field. Yatsik, who is used to pitching on the natural surface at East Addition Park, said it was hard to grip the ball without dirt.
It showed in Kodiak’s first two games as Yatsik, who is normally around the strike zone, walked nine batters and hit another in the Bears’ 7-6 and 6-3 losses on Friday.
With the dirt in her back pocket, she tossed a six-hitter and didn’t walk anybody in Saturday’s victory.
“It helped a little, but we were all sweating too, so that doesn’t really help,” Yatsik said.
Kodiak coach Sam Catt said he didn’t know about the dirt in Yatsik’s pocket.
“I do know yesterday (Friday) with a brand new ball out of the package, it is very slick,” Catt said. “Normally on our field the umps will let us rub the ball down, but there is no dirt here to do that. She pitched better today, so if she did something like rub her hands down it obviously helped.”
Saturday’s temperature rose to 75 degrees during the mid-afternoon game. It felt another 10 degrees warmer on the turf. Coaches constantly reminded players to stay hydrated between innings.
“It is definitely harder,” Yatsik said about playing under the sun. “You get tired easy. It is nice though. It is better than rain.”
Celeste Chichenoff supplied the offense for Kodiak. She pounded out three of Kodiak’s eight hits, scored twice and drove in a run.
She also made a few sparkling plays at shortstop, bust said if she had a choice she would pick dirt over the turf.
“In some ways I like to play on turf because the outfield is flat, but I like playing in dirt in the infield because it is a lot more fun,” Chichenoff said.
Chichenoff wasn’t the only fielder to come up big for Kodiak (6-7).
Second baseman Kassidy Ellison scooped up a ground ball in the final inning, tagged the runner going by and threw the ball to first base to complete the game-ending double play — that was one of four groundouts to second on the day.
“That was the best play of the day. That is the situational awareness that I am talking about,” Catt said.
Chichenoff’s double in the first inning scored Dannika Catt to open the scoring.
Service answered with two runs in the second, only to give up the lead in the third.
Kodiak sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs on four hits and two Service errors for a 6-2 lead.
Catt led off the inning with a walk and scored an out later when Service’s right fielder misplayed a groundball single by Kalamelia Matautia, who also scored on the play.
Chichenoff followed with a single and scored on a Kaitlyn Clark single. Clark reached home on a wild pitch and Kristina Stobinski ended the scoring when she brought in Sydney Hosier on an infield groundout.
Kodiak added two more runs in the fourth to register its first victory over a large school team this season.
“I love beating large schools,” Yatsik said. “It makes everybody’s confidence go way up.”
Service 7, Kodiak 6
Kodiak stranded the tying run at third base in the final two innings to fall 7-6 in the series opener.
Catt, Chichenoff and Clark each had two hits, while Tiana Timu hit a triple and drove in two. Kodiak started the game with six straight hits, but only got four hits over the next five innings.
Kodiak broke a three-all tie with two runs in the third, but couldn’t hold the lead as Service scored one in the fourth and three in the fifth.
Service 6, Kodiak 3
Service scored five runs in the first inning on six walks, three wild pitches and only one hit.
Yatsik settled down after the first inning, but Kodiak’s offense could only muster four hits — two by Catt.
COUGARS 7, BEARS 6
Service 300 230 — 7 8 3
Kodiak 301 010 — 6 10 3
Brown and Kagen; Yatsik and Clark.
RBI: Service — Baufield 2, Frisk 2, Brown 1, Sierra 1. Kodiak — Ellison 1, Matautia 1, Timu 2. Triple: Service — Frisk. Kodiak — Timu. Double: Kodiak — Catt. Two hits: Service — Sierra. Kodiak — Catt, Chichenoff, Clark.
Winning pitcher — Brown (Struck out three, walked two). Losing pitcher — Yatsik (Struck out four, walked three).
COUGARS 6, BEARS 3
Kodiak 000 21 — 3 4 0
Service 500 1x — 6 4 5
Yatsik and Clark; Caldarera and Kagen.
RBI: Kodiak — Glamman 1. Service — White 1, LaPointe 1, Davies 1. Two hits: Kodiak — Catt.
Winning pitcher — Caldarera (Struck out five, walked three). Losing pitcher — Yatsik (Struck out four, walked seven).
BEARS 8, COUGARS 4
Service 020 20 — 4 6 3
Kodiak 105 2x — 8 8 2
Brown, Caldarera (4) and Kagen; Yatsik and Clark.
RBI: Service — Frisk 1, Sierra 1, White 1. Kodiak — Chichenoff 1, Clark 1, Yatsik 1, Stobinski 1. Double: Service — Frisk. Kodiak — Chichenoff. Three hits: Kodiak — Chichenoff. Two hits: Service — Bethke.
Winning pitcher — Yatsik (Struck out three, walked none). Losing pitcher — Brown (Struck out three, walked none).