By PAUL VALENCIA | The (Vancouver) Columbian
PASCO — It was too much for South Kitsap to overcome.
Errors hindered the Wolves as Skyview survived a crazy championship game to cap their wild championship run Saturday night at Gesa Stadium, winning the first state title in program history.
Relief pitcher Brooks Hanson threw four scoreless innings, and the Storm took advantage of nine South Kitsap errors to beat the Wolves 8-5.
“I don’t know, man,” said Brian Valentine, who had two hits and drove in two runs. “I’m going to cry. It’s awesome. We’re No. 1. We are No. 1. We brought it home. We brought the trophy home.”
From the beginning of the season, the Skyview goal was to win a state championship. The dream had been there for a long time.
“I love being part of history, especially with these guys,” Hanson said. “I've been playing with them (for years).”
Hanson entered the game with two runners on and no outs in the third inning, with Skyview holding a 6-5 lead. The Wolves did not score the rest of the game. Hanson struck out five.
“It was a little stressful that inning. Getting out of it was a big relief,” Hanson said. “When we added two runs (in the top of the sixth), it gave us the extra little confidence.”
South Kitsap had no confidence in the field. The Wolves were charged with nine errors, committing at least one in each of the first six innings. Skyview also had three errors, and had two runners picked off.
“When you get to that stage and a lot of kids haven’t played at that level, there were some jitters,” South coach Marcus Logue said. “We saw that on the mound and in the field.”
Skyview scored six runs in the top of the second to erase a two-run deficit.
“We just knew we had to bounce back,” Skyview senior Brayden Maney said after South scored two in the first. “We couldn't get down at all.”
Freshman Avery Schmidt tied the game with a two-run single.
“This is the best feeling anyone could have asked for,” he said.
Ian Hamilton had a sacrifice fly, while Maney and Valentine drove in runs with singles. An error scored the other run in the frame.
“This postseason, we got some breaks, but we made some breaks for ourselves and took advantage,” Skyview coach Eric Estes said. “We put pressure on them. We put pressure on them. And when you put pressure on any team, sometimes the defensive mistakes will happen.”
The Wolves chipped away at the Skyview lead with two runs in the third and another in the fourth until Hanson came in to shut the door.
“I was just thinking I have to do my job,” Hanson said.
Skyview got the two in the top of the sixth for some breathing room, scoring one on an error. Valentine closed the scoring with his second run-scoring single of the night. Valentine went 5 for 7 in the two games in Pasco.
Hamilton had three hits Saturday, which followed his fine pitching performance Friday in the semifinals.
“I’m a little speechless,” Skyview coach Eric Estes said. “Validation for what we've been doing.”
Until this year, the Skyview baseball team had never won a state playoff game.
This team refused to lose.
“It was the goal all year, and we finally got it,” Maney said. “We finally did it. This is amazing.”
Logue was disappointed that his 11 seniors did not cap their careers with the Wolves with a title. But South, which finished 21-6, had its most wins in a season since its last state championship in 2003.
“They achieved a lot throughout the season,” Logue said. “I attribute that to their focus and hard work. Going to the 4A state title game, they should be proud of themselves and remember it for the rest of their lives.”
Independent Sports Editor Chris Chancellor contributed to this report.