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Lucky Wolves escape with win
Baseball doesn't always offer second chances.
And the Wolves are grateful to get one.
First baseman Ricky Johnson hit a one-out single into right-center field to score Caleb Macabitas from third base in the bottom of the seventh inning to give South Kitsap a 2-1 win Tuesday against Gig Harbor in a Narrows League baseball game.
After Gig Harbor starter Scott Schultz induced Mitch Cartwright into a groundout to start the seventh, Macabitas singled up the middle. Macabitas typically serves as the Wolves' No. 9 hitter, but coach Jim Fairweather said that's by design rather than a reflection on his talent.
"It was really nice seeing Caleb coming up in that last half," he said. "We historically have put guys down there who can do their job and flip the lineup. And he did it."
Center fielder Charlie Hough then hit the first pitch from Schultz sharply down the third-base line for a double, which advanced Macabitas to third base. After watching that at-bat, Johnson felt he also might see a good first pitch to hit.
"I had a good feeling," Johnson said. "I knew he had to throw me a good pitch because he had Brady Steiger up behind me."
South (7-2 overall, 5-2 league) moved two games ahead of its nearest competition in the Bridge Division behind the hitting with runners in scoring position it couldn't get in the sixth. Steiger reached on an error to lead off that inning and scored on a triple to right-center field by Collin Monagle. But Schultz sandwiched a strikeout between a pair of groundouts to escape with a 1-all tie.
"I was thinking it was over," Fairweather said. "I have three guys who can get the ball out of the field ... but we didn't swing the bat the way I would like."
Despite that, Fairweather felt his team was in a good position. He noted that the Tides have struggled to maintain leads at times this season and he felt that tying the game might have affected their confidence.
"Those questions are going to pop up as soon as they relinquish the lead," he said. "I told the kids to just keep plugging along."
Gig Harbor (4-5, 3-5) scored first in the sixth inning when Chet Thompson hit a two-out double to right-center field to score Nico Youngren. It was the only inning that South starter Scott McGallian, who threw 57 of 91 pitches for strikes, allowed multiple baserunners. McGallian surrendered only four hits and didn't walk any batters.
"I was just trying to throw strikes because I know that I have the best defense behind me that anyone could ever hope for," McGallian said. "I knew my team would back me up."
The right-handed Schultz nearly was as effective as his lefty counterpart. Before the seventh inning, he allowed just two hits while striking out seven. The Wolves didn't have a hit until the fifth inning when Cartwright, who went 2 for 3, singled up the middle.
But after being shut down by starters from Bellarmine Prep and Olympia in their only two losses last month, Fairweather was happy to see his team respond against Schultz.
"We answered a huge question," he said. "This is a good team and we beat them."
At South Kitsap 2, Gig Harbor 1
Gig Harbor 000 001 0 — 1 4 4
South Kitsap 000 001 1 — 2 5 0
Scott Schultz and Cameron Holcomb. Scott McGallian and Gavin Fazio.