South Kitsap players bask in glow of World Series title

"Six South Kitsap High School baseball players contributed to a second consecutive World Series title for Dow, a Redmond-based U-16 select baseball team.SK juniors Brian Cox, Chris Gustafson, Ryan Marshall, Josh Ness, Joe Riley and Adam Siler earned Dow back-to-back titles at the USSSA World Series in Oklahoma City.Dow crushed the competition despite 105-degree temperatures.After suffering a setback in the semifinals with a loss to the Michigan Panthers, Dow had to come back the next day and play three consecutive elimination games to win the championship.Cox opened the day with a no-hitter against Folsom Flame of California.It was Cox's second no-hitter of the season - a new Dow record.Cox had plenty of run support in the 10-0 win against the Flame. Gustafson contributed the offensive arsenal with four hits, including a home run, triple, and two runs batted in.Shaun Guinn drove in five runs on a pair of home runs, and Ness added a double and single.Ness, who caught Cox's no-hitter, said the pitcher was in a groove the entire game.He put his fastball right where I wanted it, Ness said. He didn't have to shake off pitches. I knew exactly what he wanted to throw.The win thrust Dow into a rematch with the Panthers.After trailing 4-0, Dow reeled off 12 unanswered runs for the win.Cox cracked a pair of doubles and Marshall drove in a pair of runs.Marshall hit .500 in the tournament and played strong defensively in the outfield, but it was his pitching in the championship game that helped Dow win the world series.Facing the Panthers for the third and final time, Marshall's moxie on the mound was enough for the 15-3 win.Ryan didn't strike out a batter and didn't walk a batter, Dow coach Les Dow said. He bent but never broke, and Michigan couldn't answer.Gustafson helped his fellow prep teammate with three hits.Gustafson and Cox along with four other Dow teammates were named to the all-tournament team.Cox won two games and finished with a 1.27 ERA. But he was named offensive player of the tournament after hitting .542 with 10 RBI and nine runs.Gustafson hit .500 (17-34), including two home runs, three triples, and three doubles. He also scored 17 runs in the tournament.Ness said he was surprised with the lopsided wins.I though we would have had more of a challenge, he said. This is one of the bigger World Series.Ness said Dow, which finished the tournament with a 9-1 record, wasn't phased by the hot weather.We got there three days earlier and practiced in the weather every day, Ness said. We got used to it. Our parents did a good job filling water bottles and giving us ice cold towels. "

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