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South Kitsaps 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 Harbortwo teams No. 7 SK lost to earlier in the season.
Fed up with SKs 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, thats enough. Were 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.
Were waking up a little bit, Goodwin said. I put the bat on Meekers shoulder, Nickerson has the bat on his shoulder. I havent seen Nickerson pull too many balls in the last two years like he pulled that (home run ball). This has helped him. Its 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 isnt 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 yesterdays 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.
Im 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 were doing that. Every game I think weve been hitting better.
As for becoming league champs, Thomas said its 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 were not league champs, we have to produce come playoffs.
While the offense is starting to come around, Goodwin said hes 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.