PORT ORCHARD — All it took was one pitch for South Kitsap to take a lead it would never relinquish in its home opener March 20 at Elton Goodwin Field.
Leadoff hitter Sam Canton blasted the first pitch he saw deep to right-center field and it carried over the fence for a home run at South Kitsap’s big home park. That touched off a three-run first inning that catapulted the Wolves to a 9-2 win over Graham-Kapowsin.
Nathaniel Beers, P.J. Moritz and Stratton Fazio each drove in two runs. Moritz fanned six hitters in five innings of work, giving up five hits and one unearned run.
But Canton’s mammoth shot was the spark that started the flame, landing just to the left of the field’s scoreboard.
“I was thinking double, but I looked over and Coach Logue was signaling home run,” Canton said. “I didn’t know it was out.”
Cleanup hitter Blake Ballew kept the first inning alive with a two-out single. Beers then hit a long fly ball that threatened the 380 sign in center field, landing well over the fielder’s head for a double that drove in Ballew. Fazio followed up with an RBI-single to give South Kitsap a 3-0 lead.
“I love this lineup,” head coach Marcus Logue said. “I love our guys, they’re scrappy.”
The two-out magic continued in the fifth. Jacob Duarte started the rally by taking a pitch in the foot and Ballew followed with a single. With a runner in scoring position, Beers hit a line drive right back up the middle into center to score Duarte. Fazio then hit a long double to left to bring in pinch-runner Spencer Sieckowski. Moritz plated two more with a single through the left side of the infield.
In all, South Kitsap scored seven of its nine runs with two outs.
“It’s hard to flush what you see right in front of you,” Logue said. “You see a ground ball, a strikeout and then [a player thinks] ‘I’m coming up. Even if I get on, what’s going to happen?’ This group doesn’t do that at all.”
As has been the case throughout this young season, the Wolves received contributions from up and down the lineup. All but one starter got at least one hit, and Hunter McKlosky and Fazio came on to handle the sixth and seventh innings in relief of Moritz.
This year’s team may not have as much star power as it has in the past, but the roster is balanced and solid throughout with many players that can play multiple positions — something Logue sees as a strength of this year’s team.
“We’re all really close and I feel like I can trust every single person on the field,” Canton said.
Logue also praised the maturity of his team, which features only four seniors in the starting lineup.
“They do a really good job of handling the situation,” Logue said. “Like I said to them afterwards, it’s a good win, but I can see in their eyes they’re ready to go back to work tomorrow and prepare for Curtis on Friday [played March 22].”
South Kitsap 9, Graham-Kapowsin 2
GK 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 — 2 7 1
SK 3 0 0 1 4 1 x — 9 11 2
WP: Moritz LP: Manase
Graham-Kapowsin — Manase 5 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 3 K; Harmon IP, 2 H, R, ER, BB.
South Kitsap — Moritz 5 IP, 5 H, R, 0 ER, 6 K; McKlosky IP, 2 H, R, ER, BB, K; Fazio IP.
Graham-Kapowsin — Walden 2-4, 2B, R; Camarena 2-3, R; Jackson 1-4, 2B; Leatherwood 0-3, RBI.
South Kitsap — Beers 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, R; Fazio 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, R; Canton 1-3, HR, RBI, BB, R; Moritz 1-3, 2 RBI; Ballew 2-4, 2 R; Blake 1-3, RBI; McKlosky 1-4, RBI; Bayne 1-3, R.