Youth will be served on this year's SK team

Young and inexperienced.

That’s the easiest and best way to describe the 2005 South Kitsap baseball team.

And that’s just fine by second-year coach Jim Fairweather.

“We have some talented young people that are just chomping at the bit for their turn,” Fairweather said. “And I’m pretty excited for them. I’ll be nervous like I always am, but there’s hope.”

With each spring, there’s always hope, and this year’s pack of Wolves should have plenty to drive them.

Although just three seniors return from the 14-8 team that fell a game short of the Class 4A state tournament, there’s plenty of optimism and reason to bond and play well.

“We’ve got something to prove,” senior pitcher Matt Hudson said. “Last year we wanted it, but we didn’t work hard enough. This year, I think we have a bunch of hard workers.”

Hudson returns along with senior pitcher Dan Dillard and senior third baseman Jeff Coulon. And they’re all ready to discard any lingering effects from last year.

“I think we’re more cohesive as a unit,” Coulon said. “There was a lot of bickering last year and a lot of fighting for who had control and who was going to lead us. (This year) we all know each other. We all played football together and baseball in the past.”

The Wolves, after just nine practices, seem to be ahead of last year’s team as far as getting the basics down.

“They respond to what we tell them,” Fairweather said. “They believe us when we tell them that we have a lot to do. And they’re really working hard. They understand that there’s a lot at stake.”

One thing at the top of the list would be taking back the Narrows League Bridge Division crown, something North Kitsap took away from the Wolves by sweeping them last year by scores of 11-0 and 14-8.

“There’s going to be some inexperience,” Dillard said. “But I think everyone on this team knows if we want to come out wearing SK (on our hats), we have to prove. We can’t come out wearing SK colors and not play like we should.”

North took the league title with a 14-1 mark and returns just about everyone from the team.

“If I were to put someone at the top of the league, it would be North,” Fairweather said. “They’re loaded, and they’ve got one of the best competitors I’ve ever seen in Jared Prince. North is definitely the class of the league. But I look forward to it being a very competitive league.”

Hudson, who went 6-1 last year with an earned run average just under three a game, will be key if the Wolves are to stay close to the top this year.

Hudson will be the Wolves’ No. 1 starter and will be counted on to duplicate last year’s success.

“I think our defense will carry us. We should be OK on defense,” Fairweather said. “And I’m hoping our pitching can carry us, but I’m not sure just how deep we’ll be just yet.”

Hudson will be joined by Dillard in the rotation while Kyle Pease and even Coulon could see time on the mound.

Andrew Thatcher, the Wolves’ lone lefthander, will also see action from the pen, while junior David Hammrich could end up as the team’s closer.

Around the horn, the Wolves will be very inexperienced, with Coulon as the only infielder to see much time last year, that being at third base.

Doug Franz gets the initial nod behind the plate but could be pushed by either Dan Miller or Ryan Cosgrove.

Senior captain Brad Ossman will see time at first, while Cosgrove and Thatcher will also be in that mix.

Andy Hultz gets his time at second base, while Zach Jacob will start at short.

The outfield should shape up with Grant Sampson in left, Hammrich in center and Pease or Cosgrove will be in rightfield.

“They are all actually interchangeable,” Fairweather said. “They can all play in multiple spots for us.”

Offense will be a concern, Fairweather said, but he’s hoping to see it continually get better as the season progresses.

“I’m looking at our season, they way its been constructed, and I see us getting better and better with each week,” Fairweather said. “And our schedule is set that way.

“It’s our hope that we’ve built enough momentum,” Fairweather said, “and when we get into that North series we’re both playing for the league title.”

That would be the final series of the year, and because of the new scheduling format used this year, it will a two-game series spread out over three days.

In fact, all of this year’s league games will be played as back-to-back, two-game series, most on a Monday-Tuesday or Tuesday-Wednesday, home-and-away format.

“With this new format, with these back-to-back games, anything can happen,” Fairweather said. “The good part about it is that it’s like a series and it gets you ready for the end of the season. And you don’t have to see (the opposing team’s) ace twice. But it’s the same for us, though.”

The new schedule has many of the coaches wondering how it will all work out, especially as the season grows closer to the playoffs.

“If you’re playing bad, you’re playing bad and you go back-to-back then there’s two league losses,” Fairweather said. “And then you never see those guys again. And there’s nothing you can do about it. But we’ll see how that works out.

“But I’m up for whatever, I don’t care,” Fairweather said. “We just gotta win. Basically what it boils down to is you have to play well and you have to win the games you’re supposed to win and maybe win a few that you’re not.”

2005 South Kitsap baseball schedule


3-21 KENTRIDGE 3:45 p.m.

3-22 FOSS 3:45 p.m.

3-23 at Capital 3:45 p.m.

3-25 KENT-MERIDIAN 3:45 p.m.

3-29 at Bremerton 3:45 p.m.

3-30 BREMERTON 3:45 p.m.

4-1 ROOSEVELT 3:45 p.m.

4-4 SHELTON 3:45 p.m.

4-5 at Shelton 3:45 p.m.

4-12 OLYMPIC 3:45 p.m.

4-14 at Olympic 3:45 p.m.

4-19 CENTRAL KITSAP 3:45 p.m.

4-20 at Central Kitsap 3:45 p.m.

4-26 at Gig Harbor 3:45 p.m.

4-27 GIG HARBOR 3:45 p.m.

5-2 at Port Angeles 3:45 p.m.

5-3 PORT ANGELES 3:45 p.m.

5-7 at North Kitsap 3:45 p.m.

5-9 NORTH KITSAP 3:45 p.m.

Home games at in CAPS


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