The South Kitsap High School baseball team needed some timely hitting to overcome its porous fielding.
They found it with two runs in the eighth inning on Wednesday to earn a 10-9 come-from-behind win against Wilson in Narrows League play. The win means the Wolves (7-1 overall, 4-1 league) are off to their best start since 2005, when they were 10-1.
Tyler Sartor and Charlie Hough doubled in consecutive at-bats off Wilson reliever Ryan Linden to start the eighth inning, the latter of which tied the game, 9-9.
Linden then intentionally walked Brady Steiger, and Todd Dalrymple followed with a single to center field. That would’ve loaded the bases, but Steiger was picked off at second base on the hit.
“That’s part of the game,” said Steiger, referring to the intentional walks that come as the team’s No. 3-hitter. “I trust the guys behind me to do their jobs.”
Linden then loaded the bases with an intentional walk to Ghryn Hobson, but he got Ricky Johnson to pop out to third base for the second out. He couldn’t replicate that feat in the ensuing at-bat, though, as Chris Sizemore drew a four-pitch walk to end the game.
It didn’t look like South would have any problem with the Rams (1-6, 1-3) early, when Sartor reached on an error and Steiger, who went 2 for 5 with a pair of intentional walks and 3 RBI, hit a towering home run over the right-field fence two batters later off starter P.D. Williams.
The Wolves extended their lead to 3-0 in the first when Collin Monagle, the third consecutive hitter to single, scored Dalrymple.
But then South coach Jim Fairweather saw the Wolves’ defense unravel in a way he’s never seen in his five years at the helm or during his tenure as an assistant under Elton Goodwin.
The Wolves committed the first of a season-high six errors in the second when the second baseman bobbled a throw that allowed Ky Mazzukea to reach. Mazzukea later scored to cut the deficit to 3-1 after a pair of balks and a sacrifice fly.
Fairweather refused to blame the Wolves’ long layoff for their defensive woes. Because of rainouts and spring break, South hadn’t played since a five-inning, 9-3 win, March 25 against Lincoln.
“We were lucky to win it, for sure,” he said. “We tried everything could to give it away. I’ve never had a team commit this many errors in one game.”
Fairweather said his infield regularly works on ground balls, but said many of those are hit harder than the “little dribblers” featured by the Rams.
“I think the ones that hurt us the most are the ones they didn’t hit well,” he said. “We’ll go to work on that … in case someone else plays small-ball with us.”
The Wolves’ offense continued to produce for starter Drew Saddler, though. Shawn Stayton doubled and later scored on an error by the catcher, who overthrew the third baseman on a steal attempt.
Hough, who went 2 for 4, hit a two-out single and Steiger followed with an RBI double to left to give South a 5-1 lead.
Both teams added a pair of runs in the third and Wilson closed its deficit to 7-5 in the fourth when Derek Shirey hit a two-out, RBI double to left off reliever Adam Douty.
Chaz Ocbina then scored when teammate Jared Stortini reached safely on an error by the second baseman in the ensuing at-bat.
The Wolves scored another run in the fifth when Scott McGallian hit a sacrifice fly to score Sartor.
Wilson added another run in the sixth when South’s shortstop bobbled a ground ball that allowed Williams to score. The Rams scored the first of their two runs an inning later when Alex Fox hit a sacrifice fly to score Mazzukea.
They tied the game, 8-all, when Williams hit a two-out double down the third-base line to score Chris Fitzgerald.
Wilson took its only lead, 9-8, in the eighth when Mazzukea doubled to left-center to score Stortini. But reliever Mike O’Brien (1-0) caught him in a rundown and later struck out Linden to earn the win.
“I just had to come out and do the job,” O’Brien said. “My whole team is relying on me.”
At South Kitsap 10,
Wilson 0 1 2 0 1 2 1 — 9 9 2
South Kitsap 3 2 2 0 1 0 2 — 10 10 6
PD Williams, Beam (4), Ryan Linden (7) and Kurtis Longver, Alex Fox (6). Drew Saddler, Adam Douty (4), Chris Sizemore (7), Mike O’Brien (7) and Todd Dalrymple.
W—O’Brien (1-0). L—Linden.
Leading hitters—SK: Tyler Sartor 2-5 2 2B, Charile Hough 2-4 2B, Brady Stieger 2-3 2B 2 BB, HR, 3 RBI, Todd Dalrymple 2-4, Gyhrn Hobson 2-4.