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Pair of losses to PA puts SK in danger of missing playoff
From second place and looking good, to fourth place and in danger of not advancing to the postseason in just a matter of hours.
Welcome to Jim Fairweathers nightmare.
After being swept for the first time this year under the new scheduling format, the South Kitsap baseball team is faced with its toughest task yet, playing the league-leading team in the final series of the year and needing a pair of wins to ensure a playoff berth.
We know the situation, thats for sure, said Fairweather, after losing two games to Port Angeles this week. At least I think they know the situation and they know were going to have to bring more intensity.
After losing to the Roughrider 5-3 at home on Wednesday and 4-1 at PA on Thursday, South, (11-5 overall and 7-5 in league) dropped to fourth place in the Narrows League Bridge Division and opens a two-game series today with North Kitsap (14-1,11-0). A sweep of the third-ranked Vikings would ensure the Wolves a playoff berth. Gig Harbor (9-9,6-6) and Olympic (7-8,6-6) face each other to close out the regular season, looking to take the final spot from the Wolves.
There are many different scenarios that could play out this weekend but if the Wolves win both of their final two games, they are in.
Its that easy.
Thats what it boils down too, Fairweather said. (The kids) are stunned right now. (Port Angeles) is the most mediocre team Ive ever been beaten by, at least twice. I dont know what else to say.
Souths problems started in Tuesdays game when the team stranded 11 runners on base, including five on third base in the games first five innings.
All I know is (Port Angeles) didnt pitch great pitchers and we didnt just smoke them like we should have, Fairweather said. And thats the frustrating part.
That was compounded as Matt Hudson turned in his best outing of the year. The senior threw 125 pitches, gave up six hits and stuck out 11 but didnt get the run support needed to win.
I felt great, thats probably the best Ive felt all year, Hudson said. Everything was working for me. In the past, Ive just had one or two pitches working but (Tuesday) everything felt good. It felt like I pitched the way I know I can.
And while Hudson was cruising, his only mistake was a split finger that didnt drop and instead ended up as a three-run homer off the bat of Adam Macomber, his offense just couldnt come up with the timely hit needed to put the Wolves on top.
Thats just baseball, Hudson said. I try not to think about it because I dont want to put that much pressure on my team because I know its tough and I know theyre trying.
But thats baseball, he said. There are days when the pitcher is having a great day and hitters arent doing anything and the other way around. We just couldnt get a rally going (Tuesday) and thats baseball.
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead on Zach Jacobs two-run double, South had trouble getting any more runs across.
Lead-off doubles were followed by strike outs and ground outs. Runners at second and third with one out turned into no runs. Bases loaded situations led to nothing again and again.
We had our guy come up and not get hits, Fairweather said. Im frustrated with Matt battling his ass off, hes out there fighting and we cant hit these guys. Somethings amiss.
South scored one more time to tie the game but lost in the seventh when PA pushed a couple of runs across.
The frustration carried over into Wednesdays 4-1 loss as Andrew Thatcher pitched well enough to win but the bats were silent again.
We didnt hit it, Fairweather said. And when we did, we hit it right to them. Thatchter threw a really good game but we just didnt hit the ball.
The Roughriders got back-to-back triples from Macomber and Perry Knudson to break the game open in the third inning. South scored it only run on a ground out by Jacob.
Were just not hitting, Fairweather said. Its funny how it works. If were pitching well, we cant hit. If we hit well, we cant pitch. I thought we were in pretty good shape, but now I dont know how to react.
South travels to Poulsbo today for a noon start. The Wolves will throw Hudson while league MVP Jared Prince will go for the Vikings. South closes out the regular season Monday at 3:45 at the SK field.
Port Angeles 4, South Kitsap 1
Played May 4 at Port Angeles
Andrew Thatcher, Jason Read (6) and Aaron Smothers; Cameron LeDuke and Brandon Kenney. WLaDuke. LThatcher (4-1).
Leading hitters: SK Zach Jacob (RBI). PA - Adam Macomber 2-3 (3b), Perry Knudson (3b,2RBI).
Port Angeles 5, South Kitsap 3
Played May 3 at South Kitsap
Darling, LeDuke, and Kenney; Matt Hudson, Kyle Pease (7) and Aaron Smothers. W-Cameron LeDuke. L-Hudson (4-4).
Leading hitters: PA - Adam Macomber 2-4 (HR,3RBI), Stone 2-4, Stafhstahl 2-4, Kenney 2-4 (2b). SK- Dan Dillard 2-3, Zack Jacob 2-3 (2B,3RBI), Doug Franz 2-3 (22B).