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SK finally hitting on all cylinders
With just six games remaining in the high school baseball season, South Kitsap coach Jim Fairweather has focused his team on two specific goals. First, assure themselves a berth in the postseason and then build on that to ensure a better position.
The Wolves took care of the first part this week, taking a pair of games from Port Angeles and now can wrap up a spot in next months West Central District Tournament with two more wins next week.
Its all falling in line, just as the third-year coach hoped it would.
Were excited, Fairweather said. The kids seem to have a little bit more spirit, a little bit more renewed life to them.
South got to this position with a seventh-inning, come-from-behind 7-6 win on Tuesday and then ensured themselves of a playoff spot with a 12-6 victory on Wednesday.
Entering next weeks regular season finale with North Kitsap, the Wolves, 8-6 overall and 8-4 in division play, are tied for second place with Gig Harbor and North. Central Kitsap has already wrapped up the league crown.
Theres three of us tied for second, third and fourth (place), so why not be second? Fairweather said. Thats the way we have to look at it.
Its really simple from here on out. If South sweeps North next week they play in Poulsbo on Monday and in Port Orchard Tuesday the Wolves finish in second alone, having all the tie-breakers going in their favor.
A split would most likely leave North and South tied for third, as Gig Harbor plays Olympic next week and should sweep that series.
South can only finish fourth by losing both games to the Vikings. Both games start at 3:45 p.m.
Thats important because the top two teams in each division of the Narrows League automatically move on to the WCD tourney after playing seeding games against each other. The third- and fourth-place finishers must play each other in loser-out games.
And thats definitely a scenario Fairweather would like to avoid.
Were pretty excited about that opportunity, he said. This is the time of the season where you just have to get hot. And we feel like were starting to do that.
The Wolves pounded out a season-high 15 hits on Wednesday, led by the 4-for-4 performance of sophomore Michael Cooper. Cooper went 6-for-8 in the series and knocked in the game-winner in Tuesdays 7-6 win and returned Wednesday to go 4-4 and drive in four runs on a double and a triple.
Zach Jacobs had three hits in the second game, while Jason Read, Josh Lounsberry and Ryan Cosgrove all had two hits each.
And while the bats were hot, so was the pitching.
Andrew Thatcher evened his record at 3-3 with the win Wednesday and South continued to get solid if not spectacular relief work from David Hammrich and Kyle Pease.
In a sense, everything is coming together at once and at the right time.
After dropping two games to Olympic and facing the prospect of not making the top four at all, South responded by winning four of its next six games, including three of its last four, to get in this position. And it all comes down to just one thing.
To me, its all about attitude, Fairweather said. They said they werent having fun, and (losing) isnt fun because they know theyre better than they are (record-wise) and theyre not winning. And its not fun to under-achieve and they know it.
I dont have to say a word about it, but I do, Fairweather said. But when you do start to do what you know you can do, then it becomes fun. It becomes what they signed on for.
South Kitsap 12, Port Angeles 6
Played April 26 at Port Angeles
South Kitsap 114 132 0 - 12 15 1
Port Angeles 001 023 0 - 6 8 3
Andrew Thatcher, David Hammrich (5), Kyle Pease (7) and Aaron Smothers; Chris Darling, Perry Knudsen (5) and Moore. W-Thatcher (3-3). L-Darling (5-1).
Leading hitters: SK - Zach Jacobs 3-4 (2B,RBI), Ryan Cosgrove 2-4 (2B,RBI), Josh Lounsberry 2-3, Michael Cooper 4-4 (3B,2B,4RBI), Jason Read 2-4 (2B,3B,3RBI). PA - Lavin 2-4, Darling 2-4, Lane 2-2 (2B,3B).
South Kitsap 7, Port Angeles 6
Played April 25 at South Kitsap
Port Angeles 040 101 0 6 9 0
South Kitsap 000 500 2 7 11 4
Cameron LeDuke and Chris Darling; Brent Pishue, David Hammrich (5) and Aaron Smothers. W Hammrich (2-0). L LeDuke.
Leading hitters PA: Darling 1-3 (2b), Perry Knudson 2-3, Brett Moore 2-4 (2b), Eric Lane 2-4. SK: Ryan Cosgrove 3-4, Michael Cooper 2-4 (RBI) Smothers 2-3 (2B,3RBI), Jason Read 2-3 (3B,RBI).