Coin falls wrong way for South Kitsap WolfPack

Just one year into play in Mickey Mantle Baseball and the South Kitsap WolfPack has already seen both sides of the coin. Literally.

Unfortunately for the 15U select baseball team based in Port Orchard, the wrong side of the coin came up this week and what looked to be a certain trip to the state tournament this weekend suddenly turned into the end of the season.

“It was an unfortunate situation,” Wolfpack manager Mel Fingarson said. “There was some misinformation out there.”

Basically, the WolfPack was told by league organizers the team had enough wins to qualify for this week’s state tournament, which started Thursday. There was some question about a game that ended in a tie, but all parties involved were told not to worry about it.

But after the Pack ended the regular season with a 14-10-1 record, the tie came back to haunt them. And by the time league administrators determined the tie had to be broken, there was no time for the two teams involved to complete the game.

Following the guidelines of its constitution, the league broke the tie with a coin flip, and the Gig Harbor Rebels will play this weekend while the Pack is left to consider its future.

“It’s a shame it had to be decided that way, and they are going to change that process,” Fingarson said. “But for us, it was really unfortunate because we were on such an up note – we had really become a good team.”

With the outcome of the coin toss, the official record of the Pack, who played as an independent team last year, will stand at 14-11.

But Fingarson said that doesn’t reflect on the way the team had been playing as of late.

“I am so impressed with the way this team fought back and overcame being down early,” he said. “They were doing so well. We were playing really good ball and beating some really good teams.”

Fingarson said that was the reason the team decided to join the Mickey Mantle League this year, to face better teams and improve its level of play.

They did that, he said, but after the way the season ended — the team didn’t find out the circumstances surrounding the tie-breaker until Monday afternoon — he doesn’t know what will happen next year.

He said he and team president Jim Luebeck will have to determine if they want to stay with the Mickey Mantle league next year or possibly find an American Legion league to join. Or go back to being an independent team.

But the club will also have to find a new coach, as Jim Fairweather, who had been handling the on-field coaching of the team, stepped down with the conclusion of the season.

“All in all, I thought the kids did an outstanding job,” Fingarson said. “They improved their play and improved as a baseball team. In the end, we had become a very good team.”

• Notes: The Pack ended its season by going 2-2 in its final four games.

Tuesday saw the Pack score early and often in pounding the Tacoma Mets, 18-3. Joey Cole, Scotty Mcgallian, Todd Dalrymple, Chris Sizemore and Ghyrn Hobson all had run scoring hits, while Dalrymple scattered five hits to get the win.

The Kitsap Bulldogs topped the Pack 9-3 on Wednesday, overcoming a 3-1 lead with back-to-back big innings. SK then lost to the Gig Harbor Rebels 6-2 the following day.

But the Pack ended its regular season in style, beating the Kent Bulldogs, 17-2. SK scored nine times in the first inning behind RBI hits by Dan D’Agostino, Sizemore, Hobson, Charlie Hough, and Mel Fingarson. Eric Eley picked up the win for the Pack allowing just three hits.

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