Switching positions a sacrifice Wolves’ infielder perfectly willing to make.
The dichotomy of locker rooms often dictates that younger players make way for veterans.
But South Kitsap High School baseball coach Jim Fairweather wanted to get Ghryn Hobson into the lineup.
Hobson’s best position is second base, which is where Tyler Sartor earned second-team, all-Narrows League honors last season. Simply enough, Sartor moved to shortstop this season, while Brady Steiger transitioned from that position to third base.
Sartor said the move wasn’t easy because he hadn’t played shortstop in several seasons, but knows it’s best for the team. After all, he’s become well-versed in change based on a life experience.
“I was a little immature and spoiled as a little kid,” said Sartor, whose parents divorced in 2000. “My parents’ divorce really made me grow up. Since then … I’ve had to realize that it’s not all about me. I hate to say it was my parents’ divorce that made that happen for me, but it’s what happened and I know they both love me.”
He said it was his choice to attend South and contemplated attending Central Kitsap — his father, Paul, lives in Silverdale — but elected to stay in Port Orchard partially because of the Wolves’ baseball tradition. It didn’t hurt that the team won the last of then-coach Elton Goodwin’s three state championships when Sartor was a seventh-grader in 2003.
“That’s when I really wanted to be up here and made the decision to stay at South,“ he said.
Those within the program are grateful. Sartor, who hit .341 with a team-high 14 stolen bases last year, had three hits in Saturday’s 13-3 win at North Kitsap.
“He’s a good leader and a good leadoff hitter,” said Charlie Hough, who plays in the outfield and bats second. “He does a good job getting on base for us.”
The 5-foot-8 Sartor tries to pattern his game around former South star Willie Bloomquist, who also played shortstop for the Wolves and has been with the Seattle Mariners since 2002. Bloomquist teamed with former Mariner Jason Ellison to lead the Wolves to a 23-0 record and a state championship in 1996.
“He’s one of my heroes with how hard he works,” Sartor said. “He stood there and played where I’m playing. How would the guys who were out there before me do it? I think about that when I’m out there.
“This school has a legacy of guys who have come through here,” Sartor said. “It’s an honor to be in that position.”
As a captain, and a senior, some teammates might view him in reverent terms as well, but Sartor dismisses that thought.
“They’re not younger guys to me,“ he said. “They’re varsity (Class) 4A teammates. They play at the highest level, and I know they can make plays.”
Sartor said that confidence within the team helped them overcome the departure of top starter Brad Johnson and Collin Monagle, who has served as a designated hitter but hasn’t pitched because of weakness in his shoulder, before the season.
South had a 9-2 record after its win against North.
“I think that actually built us up more,“ Sartor said. “Everybody knew they had to do that much more every inning. We matured really fast and everyone did their job.“
His focus on the season has delayed the impending college decision — Sartor said Olympic College, Lower Columbia College in Longview and a couple of junior colleges in Arizona have shown interest.
As with his hero, Sartor hopes to play professional baseball, but he knows he wants to remain in the game even if that doesn’t work out.
Fairweather and assistant coach Nick Kenyon, who pitched for Washington State, both played at South.
“They’ve all played around here and come back and coached here,” Sartor said. “I would like to come back and offer what I can get out of college. I love the game and want to be around it as much as possible.”
Before that time comes, Sartor would like to honor the fifth anniversary of the school’s last championship with another one.
“People need to be ready for us,” he said. “I see a lot of us in them. We’re not rated in the magazines … but come playoff time, I could see us getting on a roll.”