Wolves' rally falls short

Not to slight Olympia starting pitcher Kyle Cline, but Elton Goodwin was mystified at his South Kitsap High School baseball team’s inability to hit against the right-hander in a Narrows League seeding game Saturday at Tacoma’s Heidleburg Park.

Unable to mount an attack through the first five innings, SK mounted a comeback in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Cline, pitching on fumes at the start of the inning, was chased after giving up his third hit of the game. Olympia replaced Cline with Tyler Wycoff, which turned out to be a turning point in the game.

The Wolves took advantage with three hits, four Olympia errors, and a hit batter to cut the lead to 6-5.

The Bears came right back with a run in the seventh, and SK countered with a run on Adam Siler’s RBI single.

Siler advanced to second base on a walk and Chris Anderson walked to put the winning run on first base with two outs.

Up stepped shortstop Brian Cox, who earlier was tagged for five runs as the starting pitcher.

Looking to redeem himself, Cox popped up a foul ball that came an inch from hitting the backstop.

Instead, the ball came down to catcher Jake LaForest, who managed to catch it before slamming into the fencing for the game’s final out.

Cox, who entered the game with a 6-0 record and a 0.90 ERA, gave up six runs on nine hits en route to his first loss of the season.

In all the years Goodwin has played these seeding games, he’s never known whether his team is in better position because of a win or a loss.

The game itself didn’t mean anything.

Both teams were already guaranteed spots in next Saturday’s one-day Class 4A West Central District Tournament.

Had SK won, it would have played the No. 2 team out of the Greater St. Helen’s League (Vancouver) at Heidleburg Park.

Because of the loss, SK plays Curtis, the SPSL No. 3 seed, at Kent-Memorial Stadium.

Goodwin said he was proud of the way his team battled back, but disappointed that it took until the sixth inning for the team to get in a groove.

“I’m very proud of the way they battle back, but they started way too late,” Goodwin said. “(Cline) got to them and our guys got down. These guys can’t get down.”

In what could be Goodwin’s final game in SK pinstripes, the 28-year varsity coach emphatically told his players following the Olympia game he was not ready to take off the uniform yet.

The unfinished business Goodwin has talked about will require a more unified team that is undaunted by the prospects of facing other team’s No. 1 aces the rest of the way.

If SK struggles to hit against a pitcher like Cline, Goodwin said he doesn’t see his team going very far unless it comes back hungrier than ever.

And he’ll need Cox to bounce back and recapture the success he had during the regular season.

“Kids are a funky bunch,” Goodwin said. “You never know what’s going to wake them up.”

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