Bats come alive for SK Southern

It might have taken a day for their bats to wake up, but once they did they woke with a vengeance.

Just a day after producing a measly four hits in a first-round loss to start the District 2 Major Baseball Tournament, the South Kitsap Southern All-Stars rocked North Kitsap National for 20 hits and slammed four home runs, including two in one inning by the same player, to keep their title hopes alive with a 14-2 win on Sunday.

“I guess we’re not a early-bird team,” coach Dave Smith said. “We need the afternoon to kind of wake up.”

Playing in the 11- to 12-year-old age bracket at the Virgil Stacy Memorial Complex in Olalla, SK Southern dropped its opening-round game to Sequim 2-1 early Saturday morning to fall into the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament.

But a Sunday afternoon start time seemed right up Southern’s alley. SKS will now play at 6 p.m. on Friday against the loser of the Bainbridge American-Gig Harbor National game.

Despite falling into the loser’s bracket right off the bat, Smith said he had confidence his team would bounce back.

“I knew they could do it. They all love playing ball,” Smith said. “They all have a good, positive attitude and they backed each other up well (on Sunday).”

SKS left little doubt, pounding out hit and after Sunday. Elias Sablan hit a pair of solo home runs in the third inning while Brad Young added a homer.

Michael Nelson went four-for-four and ended the game with just one out in the fourth inning with a three-run blast.

John Eyler and Vince Sablan each collected three hits each for Southern while Vince Sablan got the win, allowing two hits over four innings while striking out eight.

In SKS’s opening-round game, Brad Young threw six solid innings, striking out 14 but had little offensive support as Sequim topped Southern 2-1.

SKS had only four hits but took the early lead when Vince Sablan hit a run-scoring triple in the first inning.

John Eyler added a double but Sequim took advantage of an error in the seventh inning and pushed across the winning run.

“We just didn’t hit the ball,” coach Dennis Young said. “And that doesn’t get it done at this level. But we look at it is we get to play more games, and we’re ready for that.”

SKS will still have a tough road to the title game. Beginning Friday, the team must win five games in five days to reach the July 12 title game. And then win another two in a row.

The South Kitsap Eastern team won its first game in the major bracket 10-1 over North Mason but lost to Bainbridge National 2-0 Sunday night to fall into the loser’s bracket. SKE beat North Kitsap American 11-1 Monday morning and will play the winner of Friday’s game involving SKS Saturday at 1 p.m..

South Kitsap Western also dropped into the loser’s bracket with a 5-0 loss to Gig Harbor National Saturday. The team rebounded with a 10-0 win over Port Townsend and will play at 3:30 p.m. Friday against the loser of the Sequim-Gig Harbor American game.

• SK struggles in Junior Tournament: Action in the District 2 12-14 age group saw both the South Kitsap Southern and Western teams fall into the loser’s bracket over the weekend in games played in Gig Harbor.

SK Southern lost to the East Jefferson/South Jefferson team 14-1 in Friday’s opening round while SK Western lost to the same Jefferson team 18-2 on Saturday.

In loser out games Sunday, SK Southern played Key Peninsula while SK Western faced Gig Harbor Nationals.

No scores were reported from Sunday’s play. The title game of this group is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.

The state tournament is July 15-22 in Kirkland.

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