Sports

SK puts chink in Zink arm-or

Somehow, the pinstripes just don’t want to come off yet.

The South Kitsap High School baseball team ensured coach Elton Goodwin he will don his No. 29 jersey at least one more game before retiring by handing Curtis an 7-6 come-from-behind extra-inning victory Saturday at Kent Memorial Park.

The win propelled the Wolves into a regional game against No. 4-ranked Mount Vernon (20-2-1), the No. 1 seed from District 1.

That game will be played this Saturday at Everett Memorial Stadium at 11 a.m.

Down 6-2 after three innings, Goodwin looked to senior reliever Adam Siler to silence the Vikings’ bats.

He did just that, giving up one hit in five innings, including an extra eighth inning.

He also notched the game-winning RBI after drawing a bases-loaded walk to give the Wolves a 7-6 lead in the top of the eighth inning.

Siler was mobbed by teammates after pitching a flawless eighth inning to give SK the win.

While Siler was dominant, the SK batters slowly chipped away at Curtis ace pitcher J.T. Zink, who was relieved after two batters into the eighth inning.

Starting pitcher Brian Cox opened the game by walking the first three batters, all of whom eventually scored on base hits to give the Vikings a 3-0 lead.

SK’s infield defense was also shoddy again, committing five errors.

Fortunately for the Wolves, Curtis committed four errors of its own.

Trailing 3-0, SK got a run back in the second inning when Chris Anderson — who had doubled — scored when shortstop Ryan Knutsen fielded Cox’s grounder and threw it past first baseman Shane Hendricks.

Aaron Cunningham’s RBI single in the third inning cut the Vikings’ lead to one run.

But Curtis came right back in the bottom of the inning, tagging Cox for three more runs on three hits.

SK trimmed Curtis’ lead to 6-3 in the fourth inning on Josh Ness’ bases-loaded walk, but SK failed to do any more damage when Cunningham popped up to end the threat.

The Wolves scored two more runs in the fifth inning, aided by two more throwing errors from Curtis.

After a 1-2-3 fifth inning, SK found itself four outs away from elimination.

With two outs in the sixth inning, Cunningham more than made up for his earlier fly out with a mammoth solo home run that cleared the left-center field fence and allowed SK to tie the game 6-6.

The home run almost went for naught when Curtis threatened to win the game in its last at-bat in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Siler gave up an infield single to Sean McNaughton, who then advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Alex Muenz.

With one out, up stepped Zink, the No. 3 hitter in the lineup.

Zink was intentionally walked to give SK a chance for a double play ball to end the inning.

Goodwin’s strategy paid off when Curtis’ Chris Harris grounded into an inning-ending double play, started by Cox at shortstop.

In the eighth inning, SK pinch hitter Eric Deisler took advantage of Zink’s wild strike three pitch to advance to first base.

A throwing error by third baseman Harris on Cody McCulley’s sacrifice bunt put runners on first and second with no outs.

Zink was relieved by Scott Deal, who walked Pat Kelly to load the bases.

Deal battled back, inducing Ness into a pop out and striking out Cunningham.

Up stepped Siler, who’s moxie on the mound carried over in the batter’s box.

On a 3-2 count, Siler laid off an outside fastball, which allowed the winning run to score.

Siler said he was looking to give the team the lead no matter how.

“I wanted to make him throw strikes,” Siler said. “He was throwing low, so a walk was all we needed.”

As for the pitching, Siler said he was told before the game to be ready to pitch if Cox struggled.

“I needed to pick up Brian, and we just battled back,” Siler said.

Cunningham, one of just three junior starters, showed both his youth and maturity at the plate.

His home run came at a time SK was looking elimination in the eye.

He also chucked his bat against the backstop after popping up in the fourth inning, and he broke his helmet after striking out in the eighth.

“I chewed him out after that,” Goodwin said of Cunningham’s outburst. “I told him he would have another chance.”

That chance came one at-bat earlier with the home run.

Goodwin said he was extremely pleased with his team’s fortitude, but insists the win doesn’t erase the costly mistakes the Wolves made that enabled Curtis to jump on SK early.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” Goodwin said. “We’re still kicking it around, and that bothers me. I told the guys we needed to play A-plus ball to win today. We didn’t play A-plus ball but we still won. I’m not sure we’ll have the same luck next week if we play like this.”

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