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Wolves resort to trickery in win
"It's been five days, but those who witnessed the trick play mastered by the South Kitsap High School baseball team Friday at Heidelberg Park in Tacoma are still talking about what may be the most important play of the year.That play helped thrust the Wolves into the regional game against Kentwood (16-5) this Thursday at 7 p.m. at Heidelberg Park in a winner-to-state/loser-out game.In a West Central District game against Evergreen of Vancouver, No.1-ranked SK (21-0) was playing for a spot in the regionals.A loss would have forced the Wolves into a game later that night in a loser-out game - a scenario SK coach Elton Goodwin wanted to avoid.After seven innings both squads were tied 8-8, forcing the game into extra innings.Scott Hartung, a crafty lefthander who relieved starter Adam Seward in the fifth inning, gave up only two hits in four innings of work, but he almost shot himself in the foot when Evergreen started a rally in the top of the eighth inning.With no outs, he walked Matt Gagliasso and failed to retire Shawn Blackler on his sacrifice bunt.That's when Goodwin called the play that swayed the momentum back to SK.As Hartung readied himself to pitch to Gary Stoliby, he stepped off the rubber and made like he was trying to pick off Gagliasso at second base.Shortstop Matt Einspahr, who was covering second base, leaped up to catch a high throw and centerfielder Jimmy Newell was confused as to where the ball went.They couldn't have acted it out any better on stage.Gagliasso started heading to third base, and that's when Hartung removed the ball from his glove and threw to third baseman Seann Hammon for the easy tag. Blackler stayed at first base.Hartung induced Stoliby into a fly out to Seward in right field and struck out pitcher Chris Sawyers to end the inning.Goodwin said that was the key play of the game.That kind of brought my team up a little bit, he said. We were down. We were not South Kitsap today. The guy (Sawyers) was sticking it to us and we weren't getting the runs we needed.SK's bats, which have been hot all year, met their first true test against Saywers, who replaced Kevin Baird in the second inning trailing 3-0.A perplexed Wolves team was kept off balance by the senior's mix of pitches and managed just three hits off of him in six innings.But the Wolves changed their fortune in the bottom of the eighth.After Seward led off with a groundout, senior Nolan Soete ripped a double off the bottom of the right field wall.Sawyers intentionally walked Hammon in hopes of inducing a double play. But that strategy backfired after a passed ball advanced the runners to second and third.Senior Bryan Lefler had an opportunity to end the game with a base hit or sacrifice fly but grounded out to the right side for the second out of the inning.Up stepped the lefty Hartung. He adjusted at the plate and hit a high fastball down the right field line away from the outstretched Gagliasso for the game-winning hit.Thank God for the lefthanded tail, a smiling Hartung said.Soete couldn't say enough about Hartung and his ability to come in the game and get the job done.He came through big. He's come through big all year, Soete said. He stepped up when he needed it, came in and shut them down and then hit the ball to with the game. That was great.Hartung said Goodwin's call for the trick play called World Series couldn't have come at a better time.We were trying to change the momentum with that, Hartung said. Up until then they had the momentum. That changed the momentum and switched sides.Goodwin said he saw the University of Texas pull off the pick off play more than 15 years ago and has since utilized it for crucial times such as the eighth inning."