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Wolves get it together, top Tides
Pat Kelly and Chris Anderson returned to their usual spots in the lineup, but it was an act of loyalty that sparked the South Kitsap Wolves to a 9-8 come-from-behind win over Gig Harbor Wednesday.
That win coupled with another thrilling comeback at Port Angeles had the Wolves at 9-5 overall and 7-3 in Narrows League Bridge Division play entering Fridays late contest at Olympic.
Needing just one more out and having watched a four-run seventh inning lead dwindle down to just one, South Kitsap coach Jim Fairweather headed to the mound with every intention of pulling reliever James Nelson.
Originally (I was going to pull him), but I talked myself out of it, Fairweather said. Im thinking, Ive got a senior on the mound in a tight situation. If he cant do it now, whens he going to do it?
Fairweather asked Nelson if he could get the batter, Kevin Owens, out and the senior responded that he could.
I said OK, Fairweather said. Im being loyal to a senior here and he got him to pop up, and thats just what we needed.
With runners at second and third, Nelson got Owens to fly out and preserve the win. Nelson, who pitched two and two-thirds innings of relief, notched his first win of the year.
It showed that he has confidence that I can get the job done, Nelson said. I feel that I pitch better when the games closer than if I have a bigger lead. I just tend to buckle down when the game gets tighter.
The Tides touched Nelson and SK starter Josh Fullington for 14 hits but Gig Harbor pitchers Troy Burki and Tyler Rice combined to walk 11 South batters.
The win was another step in the right direction for the Wolves, who saw Kelly and Anderson return to the lineup this week. Both are hobbled with ankle injuries Kelly missed four games in a row while Anderson has been the teams designated hitter instead of playing left field.
Their leadership has been very important to us, Fairweather said. To get them out there is good for the chemistry and leadership that this team needs.
Anderson went 0-2 with two walks and scored twice while Kelly walked three times before hitting a two-run triple in the fifth inning.
But the big bat of the day belonged to Steve Lucy, who was 2-for-3 with a double and drove in three key runs in the final two innings.
Ive been having trouble at the plate lately, Lucy said. I needed a clutch hit. I was looking for something to drive.
Lucy drove in two runs in the fifth on a double and knocked in what ended up being the game-winner with a single in the sixth.
The Wolves also got key hits from Brent Nickerson, who was back behind the plate after filling in in the outfield.
Hes been a quiet little catalyst and no one knows a thing about him, Fairweather said. Hes doing a pretty good job behind the plate.
Nickerson was 2-for-2 against Gig Harbor and is batting over .400 for the year.
I think we are playing the best together-wise and being behind each other that we have all year, Kelly said.
n South Kitsap 7, Port Angeles 6: Anderson doubled in the go-ahead runs in the sixth and Fullington started a 1-2-3 double play to end the game as the Wolves came from behind once again.
It was exciting as we were behind most of the game and had to continue to battle back, Fairweather said. And then when it was crunch time, to execute was huge. The kids were very emotional and erupted on the final out like it was a playoff game.
After trailing most of the game, Anderson put the Wolves on top with his two-run double. Fullington entered the game with one out in the seventh and bases loaded, fielded a suicide bunt that turned into a game-ending double play.
Aaron Cunningham went 3-for-3 with two runs batted in while Anderson had a pair of hits and knocked in three runs. Brent Nickerson, who helped turn the game-ending double play, was 2-3 with a RBI.