McCulley lifts SK over FWay

The game didn’t mean anything in the standings, but to coach Elton Goodwin it meant everything for the psyche of his South Kitsap High School baseball team.

Fresh off a disappointing loss against Olympia, SK bounced back with a thrilling 8-7 victory at home against No. 5-ranked Federal Way in a tuneup game before the playoffs.

After holding leads of 6-3 and 7-4, the Wolves allowed Federal Way to tie the game in the sixth inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, SK loaded the bases for No. 9 hitter Cody McCulley, who laced a single up the middle to knock in pinch-runner Tommy Patrick for the winning run.

Goodwin said he wanted a victory for his team before entering the playoffs.

“This team did not need to lose another game by one run,” Goodwin said. “We finally won a one-run game.” .

To keep his pitchers sharp, Goodwin used Josh Fullington, Evan Brumfield and Adam Siler against the Eagles.

Goodwin said he wished the pitching was sharper, but he also knew his pitchers needed some innings in order to prepare for the post-season.

SK ace Brian Cox is looking to rebound from his first loss of the season against Curtis today at Kent Memorial Park at 5 p.m.

Cox is gearing up for a duel with Curtis pitcher J.T. Zink, who brings in a 9-1 record on the mound.

Against Enumclaw last week, Zink struck out 11 batters and also went 3-for-4 at the plate.

Zink will attend Mississippi Gulf Community College next year.

Goodwin said he’s making sure his players are aware of what they are about to face.

“Zink comes at you at about 85 miles an hour,” Goodwin said. “He throws the slider away, and he throws the ball high to make you swing high. We have to be selective or else we’ll get blown away.”

Goodwin said Curtis’ makeup is similar to SK’s.

“They’re a team like us,” he said. “They don’t have any superstars. They have guys that can play. But we will have to play A-plus ball against these guys.”

The last time SK played at Kent Memorial Park was in 2001, when it lost to Federal Way and followed with a win against Capital in a pair of regional games.

This year there are no double elimination formats. It’s win or go home.

Cox said he thinks the Wolves can string some victories together, especially if he recaptures his pitching.

Cox’s loss to Olympia may be a blessing in disguise, he said.

“I think it was a reality check for me,” Cox said. “Hopefully that will be a good thing for me to know that I can get beat if I don’t come out and have my stuff.”

As a team, Cox said the win against Federal Way should provide a boost of confidence going into the team’s game today.

“Federal Way was a good way to bounce back,” he said. “Cody getting a hit in the last inning was huge. Hopefully we carry that over into Saturday.”

Cox said the only way the team can play the rest of the season is to take it one game at time and continue to elongate Goodwin’s coaching career all the way to the state championship game.

“We can go out and give coach a bang, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Cox said.

In order to help the cause, Cox said he knows what he needs to do against Curtis to give SK a chance at a victory.

“I need to get ahead and throw strike one and locate my pitches,” he said. “We’re going to be ready, we’re going to be excited, no question.”

Goodwin said he’s ready to throw everything at Curtis, whether that means manufacturing runs or dipping into his bag of trick plays. While the SK faithful have witnessed some of his trick plays in past years, Goodwin said he has a new arsenal of plays that have yet to be seen.

That could change today, he said.

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