No. 2-ranked Wolves open state tournament today

Elton Goodwin has seen his previous South Kitsap High School baseball teams highly ranked in the state only to fall short of state titles.

The Wolves moved up to No. 2 in the state after last week’s 4-1 win against Puyallup, but the rankings are only a blip on their radar.

The Wolves are putting all of their concentration on today’s first round 4A state tournament game against Edmonds-Woodway (17-7) at Heidelburg Park at 11 a.m.

If SK wins, it will play the Eastlake/Port Angeles winner on the same site at 6 p.m.

“To me, if you don’t win it all, then rankings don’t mean anything,” Goodwin said. “Psychologically, it may for your opponents.”

One thing Goodwin will concede is the team’s favorable draw this season in the 16-team tournament.

Despite its success in the past years, SK has always drawn a No. 1 team from another league to open the tournament.

Edmonds-Woodway is the third-place team out of District 1, while Eastlake is the No. 2 team out of District 2 and Port Angeles is the No. 3 team out of the Narrows League.

“I told my players we have a nice draw but we still have to take care of business,” Goodwin said. “We can’t complain this year about who we drew and our area. Heidelburg, we’ve played there and we know that place. That’s like our home away from home.”

Goodwin said he’s been fortunate with this year’s squad because of the depth of his pitching staff.

One reason baseball teams are forced to play doubleheaders in the state tournament is so they can’t rely on one pitcher.

While SK banks on No. 1 hurler Dan Knox, the Wolves also have senior Travis Vetters, a hard thrower with a mean curve, and Brian Cox, a control pitcher.

“I have a comfortable feeling with Knox starting for us,” he said. “I know he’s going to be good. God help us if he’s not. But I have a choice with Vetters and Cox.”

The only dilemma facing Goodwin is who to start in the second game if SK defeats Edmonds-Woodway.

But it’s a healthy dilemma, he said.

“I have a choice with Vetters or Cox, but I’m thinking maybe starting Vetters,” Goodwin said. “The PA team can swing the bat and hit fastballs like we can. But Travis has a very good curveball and he showed me a splitter the other day.”

The one knock on Vetters has been his inability to throws strikes. But those struggles came at the beginning of the year.

Goodwin said he’s seen huge progress in Vetters’ control.

But before talking about the second game, Goodwin said the only team the Wolves are concentrating on is Edmonds-Woodway.

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