Sports

"Wolves cage Cougars, hope to tame Tigers"

"Five days have passed since South Kitsap and Capital faced off in a high school baseball game, but memories are still fresh of the game that provided big-league plays and a reminder of the kind of weather in which baseball was meant to be played.On a clear and warm Friday afternoon at SK's Buck Gehring Field, two powerhouse teams squared off in a Narrows League showdown. SK proved too strong for last year's 3A state champions, scoring at least one run in all six innings to outlast the Cougars 9-5.The win improved the Wolves' record to 2-0 heading into Monday's road game at Mount Tahoma. Results weren't available at press time.The Wolves will host the Stadium Tigers Friday at 3:45 p.m.Shockingly, Capital's Cougars fell to 0-4 before picking up its first win last Saturday against Klahowya.Despite last Friday's contest being only the second this season for the Wolves, coach Elton Goodwin was pleased with his team's defensive effort.Senior shortstop Matt Einspahr and first baseman Nolan Soete turned an unusual double play combination to end the game in the top of the seventh inning.Down four runs, Capital was looking to rally. Speedy Skyler Fulton advanced to second base on a steal and stolen base with one out when Casey Smith stepped to the plate.Smith hit the ball high off the ground to a charging Einspahr, who timed the ball perfectly to scoop it up and barely throw Smith out at first base.Fulton attempted to score from second base but Soete, who led the Wolves with three hits, alertly threw to catcher Bryan Lefler, who put the glove down quickly and tagged Fulton out for the rare 6-3-2 double play.Einspahr's play was huge, Goodwin said. That was a big-league play right there. Not too many people get that ball.The defense helped the combined pitching efforts of seniors Adam Seward, Scott Hartung and Jason Hammel.As a group, the Wolves turned three double plays and didn't commit an error. That is a statistic Goodwin is pleased to see this early in the season.We're playing some good defense, he said. It's not like our pitchers are striking out everybody, so we're playing D this year.Seward did have a touch of the strike-out bug in his four innings of work.In his second start of the year, he struck out seven batters, gave up only two runs, walked two and hit a batter.Hartung followed with a 1-2-3 fifth inning but struggled in the sixth inning, giving up three runs without recording an out.That forced Goodwin to put Hammel on the mound for his varsity debut.Hammel made quick work of the inning by inducing a sacrifice fly for the first out and then watching the tandem of Einspahr and second baseman Steve Hall turn an inning-ending double play.Hammel then watched Einspahr pull off the third double play of the game, which ended the game.Though Goodwin said he was displeased with Hartung's bad inning, he said he was glad to give Hammel some time on the mound, since the team had played only two games before Capital.He said he'd also like to put Sean Hammon on the mound soon so he can get an idea of his pitching rotation as the team prepares for five games in six days during spring break.Goodwin said he's not usually comfortable with his teams until mid-April.We haven't even got our whole program in yet, Goodwin said. We're still coaching pickoffs. By mid-April, we get to the point where pitchers are covering first base right and we're picking guys off right."

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