Sports

All-star game brings SK seniors a final hurrah

A flurry of rain couldn’t drown out county seniors’ final hurrah on the baseball diamond Friday.

Despite conditions that sent area coaches to work for more than two hours before game time, the sun broke through the clouds in time to let Kitsap’s seniors shine.

“We did quite a lot of work at the beginning,” said Olympic coach Nate Andrews, “pushing dirt around. But the sun is shining, the wind is blowing. But we were all out there with rakes. It was pretty funny.”

The Nationals and Americans, comprised of seniors from Port Angeles to Gig Harbor and most stops in between, split the 40th Annual Senior All-Star Games Friday at Legion Field, with the Nationals winning 6-5 in game one and the Americans rallying to an 11-3 win in the nightcap.

Both games went eight innings.

But for South Kitsap, playing one last time with a core of seniors that led a Wolves’ run to the state quarterfinals was more important than winning.

“It’s cool to have all the seniors from our team on this team one last time,” said pitcher Andrew Thatcher, who logged three innings in the opener for the Americans.

Thatcher was joined by SK teammates Kyle Pease, Kenny Ladenberg, Zach Jacobs, Ryan Cosgrove and David Hammrich, who saw time on the mound and behind the plate. Only Gig Harbor had more representatives in the series.

The Americans were comprised of Central Kitsap, Port Angeles, SK, Shelton, Sequim and Chimacum players, while the Nationals were representatives of Olympic, Bremerton, North Kitsap, Gig Harbor and Port Townsend.

Each SK player saw time and success at the senior showcase, which elects 10 players to move forward to the All-State Series, played in Wenatchee on June 10-11.

Pease, who went 2-3 with 2 RBI in the nightcap and pitched in both games, and Jacobs, who was 1-2 with a double in the opener, were among the 10 selected.

Wolves’ coach Jim Fairweather said it was a great way to end a tenure with a team he’s known for years.

“Absolutely. They’re all good guys,” Fairweather said. “I love being with them. I’ve known most of them since they were little kids. We have a long history.”

But in addition to playing with his senior teammates one final time, Thatcher said its fun to play with some of the guys he’s used to throwing against.

“It’s fun. You get to play with everyone you’ve gone against for three years,” he said.

On the flip side of that coin, Thatcher said it’s also fun to go up against a “super rival,” in that the opposing team is now made up of players Olympic, North Kitsap and Gig Harbor, all Narrows League rivals, among others.

“It is fun doing that,” Thatcher said. “It’s fun when they’ve got that jersey on you’re used to seeing."

Fairweather said the games are also a good opportunity for coaches to mingle.

“It’s a nice fraternity. We all seem to get along well,” Fairweather said. “It’s fun for us. We get to meet the other kids. I really enjoy meeting all of the other kids. You don’t get to do that in the heat of the season.”

And even though Thatcher said it was kind of sad to see his time with his fellow seniors draw nearer to an end, he knows there’s new doors opening.

“That’s one of the things I’m looking forward to,” said Thatcher, who will play at Central Washington University in Ellensburg next year “It’s the end but it’s the beginning.”

Central Kitsap’s Tyler Owens and Aaron Johnson, Gig Harbor’s David Benedict and Troy Burki, Sequim’s Chad Wagner and Caleb Grubb, North Kitsap’s Jordan Prince and Port Angeles’ Chris Darling were also voted to the all-state series. Benedict was named MVP of the all-star games.

Senior All-Star Games

At Legion Field

Game One

Nationals 6, Americans 5

Nationals 102 021 00 - 6 13 1

Americans 000 040 10 - 5 9 3

Troy Burki, Grant Swaggart (3), Jordan Harrison (5), Jordan Nakaya (7), and Nolan Smith; Zac Brown, Andrew Thatcher (4), David Hammrich (7), Kyle Pease (8) and Chris Darling.

Leading hitters — Nationals: David Benedict (GH), 4-5, 2B, 4 runs; Jordan Nakaya (NK), 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI; Jordan Prince (NK), 1-2, RBI; Justin Rash (Brem), 2-3, RBI. Americans: Cameron LeDuke (PA), 2-4, HR, 2B; Zach Jacobs (SK), 1-2, 2B; Chris Darling (PA), 1-3, 2B, RBI; Caleb Grubb (Seq) 1-2, 2B; Travis Jones (Shel) 1-2, RBI.

Game Two

Americans 11, Nationals 3

Americans 201 500 12 - 11 14 1

Nationals 001 000 02 - 3 6 0

Chad Wagner, Chris Darling (3), Sean Morrow (5), Blaine Holbrook (7), Kyle Pease (8) and Chris Darling, David Hammrich (3); Jordan Prince, Antone Saltvick (3), Justin Rash (6) and Nolan Smith, Jason Bernett (6).

Leading hitters — Americans: Kyle Pease (SK) 2-3, 2 RBI; Nate Wallen (CK), 2-3, 2B, 3RBI; Tyler Owens (CK), 1-5, HR, 2 RBI; Brad Martin (Chim), 1-2, 2B. Nationals — Josiah Ward (GH), 1-3, HR; David Benedict (GH) 1-4, 2B; Jordan Nakaya (NK) 2-4, 2B.

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