With lunch comes a hard question

After watching his team score just one run in its past 14 innings, Jim Fairweather questioned his players’ desire over lunch.

The South Kitsap High School baseball coach led his team in a “state champs” yell after losing its first game of the West Central District Tournament on Saturday at Heritage Park in Puyallup.

In reality, the Wolves faced a winner-to-state, loser-out game against Stadium later in the day.

“If you want to win and you want to continue on, you can’t wait around for this team,” Fairweather told his team during lunch. “Stadium wants to beat you in the worst way. You’ve got to be up and got to be going.”

The difference was like day and night. After walking just once in an 8-1 loss against Puyallup in the opener, the Wolves drew eight walks and produced 11 hits in a 12-1 thumping of the Tigers.

The win advances South, which earned the sixth seed out of districts, to the state tournament for the second time in its past three seasons.

The Wolves will play Bothell at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Kent Memorial.

SK’s Brady Steiger, a junior who has committed to Washington State, took Stadium starter Seth Timpke’s first pitch over the 384-foot marker in left-center field for a two-run homer in the first inning.

Steiger finished 2 for 3 with a double and three RBI.

“That was huge for us ... because we get to stay in the tournament,” Steiger said. “It was a really good game all around for us.”

Charlie Hough then followed in the third when he hit a 3-1 pitch over the left-field wall for a two-run homer that extended the Wolves’ lead to 4-0.

SK didn’t hit a homer in the fourth, but still managed to add six more runs.

Shawn Stayton hit a one-out double and Tyler Sartor followed with an RBI single.

Hough then was hit by a pitch and Steiger walked to load the bases.

In the ensuing at-bat, Todd Dalrymple hit a two-RBI double off the left-field wall. The Tigers (13-8), who defeated Curtis 10-4 to play SK, replaced Timpke with Barron Tanay, but the results weren’t much better.

Ghryn Hobson hit a first-pitch RBI single and Collin Monagle followed with a two-RBI double to give the Wolves a 10-0 lead.

After walking just once against Puyallup, SK had eight against the Tigers, including two by Dalrymple.

Wolves left-hander Scotty McGallian, who won his first game of the season, retired seven consecutive batters before Jay Skilton had a lead-off walk in the fourth and first baseman Kevin Meyers hit a double to left-center field two batters later for Stadium’s lone run.

“I was just trying to keep the ball low,” said McGallian, who faced 16 hitters — one over the minimum. “Coaches really stress that. It’s a good feeling and I’m glad I get to share it with these guys.”

SK responded in the fifth when Hough singled and Steiger followed with a RBI double.

Collin Monagle, who went 2 for 3 with a double and three RBI, later singled to score Steiger, bringing the score to its final.

McGallian retired the side in order to put the 10-run rule into effect.

The scenario was reversed in the morning when the Wolves were blown out by Puyallup.

SK managed seven hits off Vikings junior Adam Cimber, a University of Washington commit, in that game but stranded eight base runners.

Sophomore first baseman Tyler Peterson went 2 for 3 with two home runs, including a grand slam, and six RBI for the Vikings in that game.

“By and large, I just think it’s a mentality thing,” Fairweather said. “I just think it’s believing. I told them at Olympia and I told them this morning, ’I don’t think you believed you could beat that team.’ Anybody can do anything.”

In their previous game May 3 for the Narrows League Tournament Championship, the Wolves managed just one hit off Olympia starter Adam Conley in a 4-0 loss.

Despite those setbacks, the Wolves join Central Kitsap and Olympia as the only Narrows teams in the state playoffs.

“In the beginning of the season, nobody had us going past league,” McGallian said. “We’re still proving people wrong. We get to come out one more week and show them up.”

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