It's back to state semifinals

Good pitching, good defense, and timely hitting.

Elton Goodwin has been preaching these words for so long it should be included as scripture in the Holy Bible.

The coach for the South Kitsap High School baseball team watched his Wolves practice the Goodwin Gospel in a pair of regional wins over the weekend at Everett Memorial Stadium, propelling SK to its second consecutive appearance in the 4A state final four.

SK plays Spokane’s Shadle Park (19-5) at 7 p.m. Friday at Everett Memorial Stadium.

Federal Way plays Tahoma in the earlier semifinal at 1 p.m.

SK pitchers Josh Fullington, Brian Cox and Adam Siler limited Mount Vernon and Enumclaw to four earned runs combined.

After escaping Mount Vernon with a 4-3 win Saturday, SK endured a rainout that night and returned on Sunday to defeat Enumclaw 5-3.

Coming off two shaky starts, Cox strutted the stuff that thrust him to an earlier 9-0 record. The senior ace held Enumclaw to three runs (two earned) on seven hits while striking out six and walking none.

Cox lasted 6 1/3 innings before Siler relieved him and recorded the final two outs to win the game and extend the team’s season one more week.

Fullington was equally impressive if not dominant in four innings of work against Mount Vernon. A low-ball pitcher, Fullington survived being squeezed by the home plate umpire and gave up just one hit, though he walked four batters and hit another.

Siler relieved Fullington for the final three innings and gave up just one run to earn the victory.

While SK’s hitting wasn’t dominant, it came through when it needed to, especially against Enumclaw. The defense also played well, though it did commit two errors for the second straight game.

What baffles Goodwin is how his team has been able to overcome costly errors.

“A lot of times (errors) would haunt you,” Goodwin said. “We’re making some mistakes still but we’re finding a way to win…so what do you do? We can’t do anything at this point in time. For the most part we have been sharp, though.”

Goodwin said the key to the team’s success has been the commitment from every player, whether it’s as a starter or reserve.

“These guys want to win,” Goodwin said. “They’ve played well and they’ve played to win in crunch time. As of late we’re getting what we need, which is playing defense and having good pitching. I hope it continues on.”

Cox said he feels like he’s back where he was a few weeks ago. The crafty right-hander said the key to his success has always been pitch location.

“I was able to locate all my pitches, get ahead of batters, and not walk anyone,” Cox said. “My last two starts, that’s what I wasn’t able to do.”

Cox’s battery mate, catcher Josh Ness, said he had a great feeling about Cox during pre-game warmups.

“This was his day,” Ness said. “I’ve been working with him to keep the ball down and he did that. He got ahead of most batters and his curve was sharp.”

Cox’s only mistake was the hanging curveball Trent Smith parked over the left-centerfield wall for a two-run home run in the third inning.

SK came right back with a run in the third to tie it 2-2, and took a 5-2 lead in the fourth inning on RBI doubles from Ness and Chris Anderson.

Siler added a sacrifice fly RBI to give SK the three-run cushion.

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