Wolves' bats come alive just in time

The hitting showed up Friday and for the most part, so did the pitching.

And that combination was lethal enough to send the South Kitsap baseball team into yet another West Central District Tournament as the Wolves pounded Wilson 13-3 in the Narrows League Tournament at Bremerton’s Legion Field.

“It gets us another week of baseball which is a thrill for me because I like being with these guys,” South coach Jim Fairweather said. “We have a few things to shore up on.”

Matt Hudson got the run support he has been missing most of the year Friday and took care of the rest himself as South comes out of the Narrows League as a sixth seed and will face the No. 2 seed out of the Greater St. Helen’s League, either Hudson’s Bay or Prairie, at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School. The winner of that game will play again at 5 p.m. while the loser is done for the year.

And while it seemed South was done for the year just a week ago, everything came together Friday just like Fairweather thought it would.

“I told these guys that we are a dam that’s ready to burst,” he said. “We are so close, so close. I know we are a good team and we just need to come out and it’s just going to happen. Someone’s going to get a hit and then another’s going to come and then all of sudden it’s just going to open up.

“And that’s exactly what happened,” Fairweather said. “It took us a little while, of course. But it was nice, it was just nice to do that.”

The Wolves pounded four Wilson pitchers for 10 hits and took advantage of nine walks as the offense finally sprung to life.

“We’ve been working really hard this week and it showed, the bats came alive,” designated hitter Ryan Cosgrove said. “We need to keep that confidence and keep it going into the playoffs.”

Cosgrove led the charge going 3-for-4 with three RBI. His two-run double in the fourth inning broke the game wide open as South scored six times to take a 9-3 lead.

And if it wasn’t Cosgrove getting it done at the plate, it was Dan Dillard, who was 2-3 with two RBI, or Doug Franz who was 1-2 with three runs batted in.

And with the newly found run support, Hudson cruised to the five-inning win.

“(Getting early run support) helped a lot, it helped me settle down,” Hudson said. “Just knowing I had them there, to pick up my back if I made a bad pitch.”

Hudson, who ran his season mark to 5-5, mixed his 107 pitches well, keeping the Wilson hitters of balance with a heavy dose of split-finger fastballs. In all, Hudson struck out seven, walked just two and allowed just one earned run.

“I was pleased with the way we played,” Fairweather said. “I was pleased with Matt’s gutsy performance. I thought we hit the ball pretty well.”

The Wolves had been putting plenty of pressure on it’s pitching over the final three weeks of the season as the bats went dormant. In fact, Fairweather even toyed with the idea of pitching junior Andrew Thatcher Friday instead of Hudson but changed his mind.

“I talked myself into it,” Fairweather said. “We all thought he deserved it. He works hard, he does things the way we ask him too and his struggles aren’t all his fault. We haven’t played defense (behind him).”

And South looked like it would fall back into that all too familiar pattern Friday after blowing a quick 3-0 lead in the third. Two errors led to two runs and the Wolves found themselves tied.

But South rallied with the huge fourth inning where they banged out three extra-base hits and the defense was solid after that, especially a very nice over-the-shoulder catch by centerfielder Kyle Pease in the fifth inning.

“That’s was an effort that people need to see,” Fairweather said of Pease’s catch. “That’s how hard we want to play all the time – all day every day.”

Now if South can just keep the combination of pitching and defense along with the hitting, who knows what could happen.

“I’m not going to jinx ourselves, we’ll keep working at it,” Fairweather said. “But that would be nice if it were the case. The pitching, for us, has been the strong point and at the beginning of the season, I thought it would be the opposite.

“I thought our hitting would carry us. It would be nice if the hitting came along because our pitching has been pretty good.”

South Kitsap 13, Wilson 3 (5 innings)

Played May 13 at Legion Field in Bremerton

Matt Hudson and Aaron Smothers; Jeff Spaulding, Dan Diaz (4), Chad Carter (5), Kevin Ryan (5) and Ryan, Brenan Pasquale (5). W-Hudson 5-5. L-Spaulding.

Leading hitters: SK – Kyle Pease 1-2 (2B,2R), Dan Dillard 2-3 (2B,2RBI,2R), Ryan Cosgrove 3-4 (2B,3RBI,3R), Andy Hultz 2-3 (2R), Doug Franz 1-2 (3RBI). W – Kevin Kearney 1-2 (RBI).

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