It’s the dream of any young baseball player: tie game, two outs, bases loaded, bottom half of the inning and a base hit for all the glory.
South Kitsap senior Ty Orser not only saw the opportunity, he conquered it, slapping a game-winning RBI single just inside the third base bag to give the Wolves their first win of the season March 29 against Bethel 6-5 in 10 innings.
“We’ve had kind of a slow start to our season, but to be able to come out here and compete against a good team. It’s awesome to get a win there,” Orser said.
The Wolves lost their first seven games and failed to score in their previous 16 innings. When coach Marcus Logue was asked about the slow start, he attributed it to inexperience and wrong mindsets at the plate. “They’re learning. It’s taking time,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of strikeouts early in the season, and I think, with that, it’s just kids trying to do too much.”
Bethel took a mid-game lead with one run in the third and two in the fourth. But with one runner on in the bottom of the fourth, SK senior Braydon Olson smoked a double into the outfield, bringing home their first run of the game and snapping the lengthy scoreless streak. Olson would come home on the next at-bat, a groundout by sophomore Dominic Kaptur, putting the Wolves within one run.
The teams exchanged a run in the sixth inning to set up a do-or-die scenario in the bottom of the seventh. Bethel’s starting pitcher, southpaw sophomore Keegan Peck, had given the Wolves plenty of trouble on the mound and was just three outs from a complete game. However, sophomore Mason Gooding kept the Wolves alive, driving in the tying run on a single and knocking Peck out of the game via pitch count.
Junior Nick Miller entered in relief for the Bison and ultimately sent the game to extra innings, where a pitching duel commenced with Wolves junior relief pitcher Payton Moritz. The Wolves were relieving starter Bradyn Melton, who allowed just three runs in 5⅔ innings.
“It was solid,” Logue said of Melton’s performance. “I mean, he left a couple balls up that they banged to the opposite field, but he fills up the strike zone, mixes it up. He’s got a great curveball.”
Miller put the Bison back on top in their half of the 10th inning, crushing a solo home run to left-center field.
But the Wolves came back again. With two outs, Moritz hit an RBI single to tie the game at 5-5. A hit-by-pitch then loaded the bases, leading to Oser’s walk-off single.
“We’re competitors, man,” Orser said. “The whole season, we’ve been down, and it’s just getting on base, one person at a time, is all we’ve got to do.”