Wolves getting the message just in time

Just over a month ago, things couldn’t have seemed any bleaker for the South Kitsap baseball team.

After being swept by Olympic in a two-game series over spring break that left the Wolves looking up at most of the Narrows League Bridge Division, South rallied by winning six of its final eight games and wrapped up a spot in next week’s West Central District Tournament with series sweep of North Kitsap this week.

The 4-2 and 10-1 victories moved the Wolves, 10-6 overall and 10-4 in division play, into a second-place tie with Gig Harbor.

But South advances as the Bridge Division No. 2 seed on tie-breakers and will play Capitol today at 1 p.m. at Heidelberg Field in Tacoma in a seeding game.

A south win would send the Wolves to Vancouver on Friday evening to face Hudson’s Bay, the top seed out of the Greater St. Helen’s League, in a winner-to-state game.

A loss would have the Wolves playing Puyallup, the South Puget Sound League’s top seed, on Saturday at Kent’s Memorial Field, with the winner advancing to state.

A loss in either scenario would result in South playing a second game, with the winner going to state and the loser going home.

“I feel like we’re doing things the way I’ve been coaching them all year,” South coach Jim Fairweather said. “Finally, the buy-in is there, and it’s starting to happen for us.”

With the turnaround now complete, the Wolves can focus on keeping their hot streak going. In their last eight games, South has outscored its opponents 57-38.

“I’m just hoping that we’re building and building,” Fairweather said. “They’ve injected a lot of excitement into their game, and they’re a lot better team when they’re excited and when they’re in to it.”

While South needed to come from behind to win Monday’s first game — the Wolves scored three times in the top of the seventh — there was little doubt about the outcome on Tuesday. South jumped out to a quick 3-0 first-inning lead and came just one hit a away from ending the game in the sixth inning by the 10-run mercy rule.

It was, finally, an all-around game, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We just decided enough was enough and that we needed to start doing our jobs,” senior Andrew Thatcher said. “We had to do it. There were no ifs, and or buts. We had to do it. We knew what we could do, so why not go out there and do our best?”

Thatcher turned in his best performance of the year, recording the Wolves’ lone complete game of the regular season on Tuesday. The senior lefty allowed just three hits while striking out six and had by far his best stuff of the year.

And the bats remained relatively hot, as South pounded out 13 hits and scored in double digits for just the third time this year.

But everything is coming together at the right time and Fairweather said if they can keep up what they are doing, there’s no telling just how far this group can go.

“The pitchers are pitching, the hitters are hitting and we’re cutting down on our errors,” Fairweather said. “I’m feeling pretty good about all of this.”

South Kitsap 4, North Kitsap 2

Played May 1 at North Kitsap

South Kitsap 100 000 3 – 4 7 1

North Kitsap 000 011 0 – 2 5 0

Brent Pishue, Kyle Pease (6) and Aaron Smoothers; Jordan Prince, Jordan Nakaya (6) and Joe Benish. W — Pease. L — Nakaya (2-1).

Leading hitters — SK: Kyle Pease 3-4 (2R,RBI). NK: James Smith 2-3 (RBI,2b).

South Kitsap 10, North Kitsap 1

Played May 2 at South Kitsap

North Kitsap 001 000 0 – 1 3 5

South Kitsap 300 115 x – 10 13 1

Grant Swigart, Brett Whitman (5), Ryan Anderson (6) and Joe Benish, Codie Cundiff (7).

Leading hitters — NK: Ray Spears 1-2 (RBI). SK: Kyle Pease 3-4 (2B,2R), Josh Lounsberry 1-4 (2RBI), Aaron Smothers 2-4 (RBI,R).

Narrows League Baseball Tourney

Friday at Heidelberg Park, Tacoma

North Kitsap (11-7) vs. Bellarmine Prep (11-7), 4 p.m. (Winner to West Central/SW District, loser out)

Stadium (11-7) vs. Gig Harbor (14-5), 7 p.m. (Winner to West Central/SW District, loser out)

Saturday at Heidelberg Park

South Kitsap (11-6) vs. Capital (15-5), 1 p.m. (Winner WCD No. 3, loser WCD No. 4)

Central Kitsap (17-3) vs. Olympia (17-2) (Winner WCD No. 1, loser WCD No. 2)

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