SK keeps its season alive with shutout

Things were just weren’t looking good for the South Kitsap baseball team Saturday night.

A day earlier, the Wolves had lost 7-0 to Hudson’s Bay and now had to beat Todd Beamer to keep their season alive.

Worse yet, the pitching staff had been depleted and there didn’t seem to be anyone left to step in and get the Wolves into the state tournament.

But things have a way of working themselves out.

Junior Mitch Williams made his first varsity appearance in a month on Saturday, pitching the Wolves past Beamer 1-0 and into the Class 4A state tournament for the first time since South won it all in 2003.

“I was just jazzed for Mitch,” coach Jim Fairweather said. “I know he was hurting. But an opportunity arose where we needed him and, by gosh, he came in with a game face on that I’d never seen before, and he threw lights out.”

Williams tossed five shutout innings, allowing just two hits, before reluctantly giving way to Kyle Pease, who closed out the win.

The win sends the Wolves, 12-7, to the state playoffs, where they will face Puyallup on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at Everett’s Memorial Stadium.

A win would set up an 4 p.m. game against the winner of the Lake Washington-Jackson matchup. A loss brings the season to a close.

Williams kind of became the odd man out during the season after having a spot in the starting rotation. But when his grandfather died last month, his role slowly diminished to the point where he was pitching for the junior varsity.

Fairweather said the guys that filled in during Williams’ absence did a good job and he was happy with them. Williams’ last start came against Central Kitsap in a junior varsity game and that hadn’t gone well.

And with Andrew Thatcher having pitched the day before and really no one else to turn to, Williams got the call against Beamer, and he came through in a big way.

“I’m really pleased for him because that was huge for us,” Fairweather said. “For him to do that was nothing short of … it was one of the great moments of our whole season.

“He knew he needed to come out and show us something. He wanted to get his spot back in the rotation, and he did.”

Fairweather said he was faced with pitching-by-committee in the year’s most important game and was just hoping to somehow get deep into the game and get to Pease.

Williams not only did that alone, he gives the Wolves a solid second option the rest of the way.

In fact, when Fairweather went to pull him out in the sixth inning, Williams, who isn’t the most excitable personality on the team, showed his coach a side he hadn’t seen before.

“He was mad at me for coming to get him,” Fairweather said. “He wanted to finish and he’s never been like that. And I loved that. I thought that was awesome.”

Pease closed out the game and ended up with the game-winning hit, as well, when he drove in Josh Puckett, who had a pair of hits, in the fifth inning.

All of that erased the bad memories of Friday’s 7-0 loss to Hudson’s Bay.

Despite the lopsided score, the Wolves were not outplayed by the Eagles. South hit the ball hard but hit it right at people all game long and came away with just a pair of hits by Kenny Ladenburg.

Thatcher was effective although he ended up taking the loss. The senior left-hander allowed just six hits, five of those singles, and none really hit very hard.

But an error, two walks and a hit batsman got the Wolves into trouble in the third inning as Hudson’s Bay scored five times.

“Everybody that I’ve talked to said they saw two teams this weekend,” Fairweather said. “The Hudson’s Bay game was pretty blasé and ho-hum, especially after they scored that first run. But (Saturday’s) game, it was get after them the whole seven innings.”

This will be the current coaching staff’s first trip to the state tournament since taking over the program in 2004. And they all know its wide open for here out.

“I really believe that … we’ve seen a lot of teams, we scouted just about every bracket, and we think our chances are as good as anybody’s,” Fairweather said. “If we’re clicking, miracles can happen.”

West Central/Southwest Baseball Tournament

South Kitsap 1, Todd Beamer 0

Played May 13 at Heidelberg Park, Tacoma

South Kitsap 000 010 0 – 1 6 1

Todd Beamer 000 000 0 – 0 2 0

Dustin Martin and Logan Capp; Mitch Williams, Kyle Pease (6) and Aaron

Smothers. W-Williams. L-Martin. S-Pease.

Leading hitters: SK – Kyle Pease 2-3 (RBI), Josh Puckett 2-2 (R).

Hudson’s Bay 7, South Kitsap 0

Played May 12 in Vancouver

South Kitsap 000 000 0 – 0 2 2

Hudson’s Bay 015 001 x – 7 6 1

Andrew Thatcher, Brad Johnson (6) and Aaron Smothers; Jay Ponciano and

Mychal Harrington. W-Ponciano. L-Thatcher.

Leading hitters: SK – Kenny Landenburg 2-3 (2B); HB – Jackson Evans 1-3

(SF, 3RBI), Greg Peavey 2-4 (RBI), Ezra Dickerson 2-3 (2B,2RBI),.

2006 Class 4A State Baseball Tournament

Quarterfinals - May 20

At Art Wright Field (Kent Memorial Park), Kent

Game 1 - Auburn vs. Mountlake Terrace, 11 a.m.

Game 2 - Emerald Ridge vs. Woodinville, 2 p.m.

Game 3 - winner 1 vs. winner 2, 5 p.m.

At Heidelberg Park, Tacoma

Game 4 - Snohomish vs. Hudson's Bay, 11 a.m.

Game 5 - Kentwood vs. Capital, 2 p.m.

Game 6 - winner 4 vs. winner 5, 5 p.m.

At Everett Memorial Stadium

Game 7 - South Kitsap vs. Puyallup, 10 a.m.

Game 8 - Lake Washington vs. Jackson, 1 p.m.

Game 9 - winner 7 vs. winner 8, 4 p.m.

At Avista Stadium, Spokane

Game 10 - Davis or Richland vs. Tahoma, 11 a.m.

Game 11 - District 5/6/8 #3 vs. Davis or Richland, 2 p.m.

Game 12 - winner 10 vs. winner 11, 5 p.m.

Semifinals - May 26

At Safeco Field, Seattle

Game 13: winner 3 vs. winner 6, 4 p.m.

Game 14: winner 9 vs. winner 12, 7 p.m.

Finals - May 27

At Safeco Field, Seattle

Game 15: loser 13 vs. loser 14, 1 p.m. (3rd, 4th place)

Game 16: winner 13 vs. winner 14, 7 p.m. (Champion, 2nd place)

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