Sports

SK has mounds of questions in '08

Pitching depth might be as important for Northwest high schools as anywhere in the country.

Because of the climate, local schools start their baseball season later than many of their southern counterparts. Meanwhile, frequent rainouts also lead to games played in clusters.

Consequently, it’s rare to find a coach satisfied with his end-of-the-rotation options, but fifth-year South Kitsap coach Jim Fairweather thought he had two good choices before practice began.

That was before top starter Brad Johnson, who had led the team in wins (6), strikeouts (37) and innings pitched (60), along with a 1.86 ERA, was declared academically ineligible for his senior year.

Then, junior 6-foot-5 right-hander Collin Monagle, who has committed to pitch for the University of Washington, said he might miss the season because of weakness in his shoulder.

Fairweather planned to move Monagle, who posted a 3.23 ERA in 21 2/3 innings last season, into the No. 2 starter role after he pitched in relief last season.

“We were looking pretty good at one point with our pitching staff,” Fairweather said. “But so far we’ve had a little bit of a tragedy befall us. All of a sudden, we’re kind of piecing it together.”

Senior right-hander Adam Douty combined with junior lefty Scott McGallian to shut out Bremerton 5-0 in the Wolves’ non-league season opener Monday against Bremerton.

The duo combined to pitch just two varsity innings last spring when McGallian was called up. Senior Drew Saddler, who pitched six innings last year, is the only other pitcher with varsity experience.

Fairweather said senior right-hander Mike O’Brien, who moved to Port Orchard from Hawaii, also might factor into the bullpen.

“All these kids should have an opportunity to get some innings,” said Fairweather, noting that the Wolves play eight games in the first two weeks of the season.

South, which finished 14-9 overall and fifth in the 11-team Narrows League at 12-8 a year ago, returns more experience on offense.

Senior co-captain Tyler Sartor, who hit .341 with a team-high 14 stolen bases last season, remains at leadoff, but moves from second base — where he was a second-team all-Narrows League selection — to shortstop.

“We have a lot of controversy to deal with,” said Sartor, referring to the pitching staff. “It does put pressure on us, but the older guys are ready to step up.”

Sartor’s move shifts junior Brady Steiger, who also was a second-team all-Narrows League selection a year ago, to third base.

The left-handed hitting Steiger, who hit .411 with six doubles a year ago, already has committed to play at Washington State.

“It’s fun to go up there knowing you’re the guy to drive in runs,” said Steiger, who will hit third again this season.

The position changes by Sartor and Steiger opened up second base for junior Ghryn Hobson, whom Fairweather feels should be one of “the top five hitters for us.”

Hobson hit .419 with a .576 on-base percentage — second on the team last season behind graduated catcher Aaron Smothers, who was at .583.

Fairweather said senior co-captain Todd Dalrymple, who batted cleanup Wednesday in the Wolves’ 10-0 win over Spanaway Lake, will be a regular at catcher, first base and outfield.

“We look really good,” Dalrymple said. “We’ve got a lot of returners who hit the ball well last year. I imagine we’ll hit the ball better this year.”

McGallian was at first base against Spanaway Lake and Dalrymple played catcher, which also is the regular position for sophomore Gordy Anderson.

“(Anderson) may have to learn a couple of new positions as well so we can get his bat in the lineup,” Fairweather said.

The outfield isn’t quite as set, although Fairweather indicated he likes junior Chris Sizemore in center field because of his defensive abilities. Juniors Brad Fairweather and Charlie Hough, sophomore Ricky Johnson and senior co-captain Shawn Stayton, who plays catcher as well, also rotated between the outfield and designated hitter early.

Add it all up and no one seemed sure what to expect this season. Fairweather, who guided the Wolves to the state quarterfinals two years ago, sees an inexperienced team with promise.

Stayton said everyone just needs to be patient.

“We’re a young team and we’re coming off a difficult offseason,” he said. “But things will come together.”

SCHEDULE

March 10 Bremerton 3:45 p.m.

March 12 Spanaway Lake 3:45 p.m.

March 14 Rogers 3:45 p.m.

March 17 at Bellarmine Prep 4 p.m.

March 18 at Graham Kapowsin 3:45 p.m.

March 19 at Lincoln 4 p.m.

March 21 Lincoln 4 p.m.

March 22 at Enumclaw Noon

March 24 Central Kitsap 4 p.m.

March 26 Gig Harbor 4 p.m.

March 28 at Gig Harbor 4 p.m.

April 8 at Wilson 4 p.m.

April 9 Wilson 4 p.m.

April 12 at North Kitsap 1 p.m.

April 14 Olympia 4 p.m.

April 16 Foss 4 p.m.

April 18 at Foss 4 p.m.

April 21 at Stadium 4 p.m.

April 28 Mount Tahoma 4 p.m.

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