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Wolves have to settle for fourth place
The partnership of pitching and defense had thrust the South Kitsap High School baseball team into the 4A state final four.
But it suffered an ugly split in a 5-3 semifinal loss to Woodinville on Friday.
The successful combo recaptured its brilliance the next day in the third-place game against Richland, only to see the Bombers (23-3) escape with a 2-1 win in nine innings.
SK (20-5), making its sixth appearance in the final four under SK coach Elton Goodwin, had to settle for fourth place.
After giving Woodinville five unearned runs on four errors in the semifinals, Goodwin said SK would have won if it brought the same defense it showed against Richland.
I was proud of the way Travis (Vetters) pitched and our defense came out and played good baseball, Goodwin said. One error in nine innings...that aint bad after the disaster yesterday.
Vetters went eight strong innings (132 pitches), striking out eight and scattered six hits.
Vetters continually wiggled out of jams.
Despite pitching with runners in scoring position in six of the eight innings he pitched, SKs defense bailed its pitcher out with a solid effort.
SK junior Brian Cox relieved Vetters in the ninth inning but walked leadoff hitter Nick Rakilos.
Rakilos stole second base and advanced to third base on a wild pitch.
Cox struck out Jake Muyco and intentionally walked Travis Buck to face Tyson Roberts.
Roberts struck out swinging on a nasty curveball in the dirt, but the ball got past catcher Andy Sund and allowed Rakilos to score.
In the bottom of the inning, SK put two runners on but the rally was thwarted when Josh Meeker grounded out to the second baseman.
Meeker was robbed of a game-winning RBI two innings earlier. With the bases loaded and two outs, Tyler DeVoir made a diving catch in shallow right field to keep Richland alive.
Despite outhitting Richland 10-6, SKs only timely hitting came on Joel Goodwins two-out RBI single that scored Josh Showers from second base.
Goodwin said all he could do is tip his cap to Richland.
We just didnt get the breaks, Goodwin said. They made some great plays and they had a great outfield. (DeVoir) made a tremendous play. I was hoping it would drop out of his damn glove but it didnt.
Goodwin couldnt focus on that one catch, though.
There were a lot of different scenarios that could have happened in this game we could have won but it didnt happen. Thats baseball.