South Kitsap’s bats coming alive at the Nickerson of time

Elton Goodwin was uneasy last weekend despite having his South Kitsap High School baseball time in the midst of a seven-game winning streak.

Stacked with a lineup of good hitters, Goodwin decided to make a change prior to important games against No. 5 ranked Port Angeles and Gig Harbor—two teams No. 7 SK lost to earlier in the season.

Fed up with SK’s lack of production at the plate, Goodwin said he started putting bats on his players’ shoulders.

Resting the bat on the shoulder not only gets rid of wasted swing motion, but it speeds up the timing of the bat connecting with the ball.

“I was like ‘OK, that’s enough. We’re putting bats on shoulders.’ ” Goodwin said.

Goodwin is convinced the changes worked as the Wolves busted out with high-scoring wins against PA on Monday and a 9-1 win at Gig Harbor Tuesday.

Against PA, SK got home runs from Phil Thomas, Joel Goodwin and Meeker — all firsts of the season.

Goodwin was perfect at the plate (3-3) and Meeker finished with a team-best four RBI.

Tyler Mayfield was 3-4, and Brandon Nickerson also came alive at the plate with a triple and two RBI.

The hitting parade continued at Gig Harbor.

Thomas hit his second home run in as many games and Nickerson pulled a home run down the left field line while Josh Showers was 3-4 with 2 RBI.

“We’re waking up a little bit,” Goodwin said. “I put the bat on Meeker’s shoulder, Nickerson has the bat on his shoulder. I haven’t seen Nickerson pull too many balls in the last two years like he pulled that (home run ball). This has helped him. It’s also helped Meeker. He hit a (darn) home run. My son Joel is hitting the ball and the bat is on his shoulder, too.”

Goodwin said it isn’t the cure all, but he believes the changes will help the team as it gears up for the playoffs next week.

The Wolves are still hoping for a possibility of earning the Narrows League Bridge Division championship.

SK, 8-2 going into yesterday’s game against Olympic, is one game behind PA (9-1) with two games left.

No matter the outcome, Thomas said the team is coming on at the right time — himself included.

“I’m just seeing the ball better and getting more patient at the plate,” Thomas said. “Guys have to step in and starting doing (their job), and we’re doing that. Every game I think we’ve been hitting better.”

As for becoming league champs, Thomas said it’s always a goal to become league champs, but the bigger picture is what counts.

“Coach told us to take it one game at a time and not think about anything after that,” Thomas said. “Every year we say league champs before we leave the field. If we’re not league champs, we have to produce come playoffs.”

While the offense is starting to come around, Goodwin said he’s been very pleased with the pitching all season.

The one-two punch of Dan Knox and Brian Cox, with Travis Vetters available when needed, has put SK into an advantage over other teams that may have just one ace pitcher in the playoffs.

On Monday Knox made up for his only poor outing of the season, which came against the same team a month ago.

The senior struck out four batters and limited PA to just three hits.

At Gig Harbor, Cox had his curveball working and was able to locate his fastball en route to a 10-strikeout performance while allowing just three hits.

The Wolves finish the regular season Monday at Central Kitsap at 3:45 p.m.

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