AUBURN — It was déjà vu all over again for the Wolves.
In 2018, a one-run extra innings game against Federal Way at Auburn High School didn’t go their way, forcing them to go the long way to qualify for the 4A state tournament.
In the same location one year later, they were once again on the wrong end of a one-run loss in a winner-to-state game, this time a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Tahoma.
But because South Kitsap has been down this road before, there are no queasy feelings as they face off against Kentlake in a loser out at 4 p.m. on May 8, which took place after press time for the Independent.
“Knowing what we’ve been through in the past as a team and being able to bounce back and still make it to state, for me, I’m done, this game is over with,” said senior Jacob Duarte. “The team, I think, collectively, handled it well.”
The Wolves received an outstanding pitching performance from Tim Reidy, who went six innings and gave up just three hits and one earned run while striking out six and walking none.
Reidy also had the added pressure of pitching from behind as Tahoma scored a first-inning run on a balk, and the Wolves wouldn’t break through offensively until the fifth.
“Tim was phenomenal,” head coach Marcus Logue said. “He did a great job. We just didn’t do a very good job of stringing them together early on for him.”
South Kitsap finally tied the game at 1 on an RBI-single by Sam Canton. Duarte then doubled to lead off the sixth, but was thrown out at third on a fielder’s choice. With Moritz on first base, Nathaniel Beers hit a ball down the line that skidded past the diving Tahoma right fielder. Moritz came all the way around to score and Beers went to second with a stand-up double that put his team ahead.
A leadoff walk in the seventh ultimately came back to haunt the Wolves, as it allowed the Bears to play a little small ball and load the bases with two perfectly-placed bunts. The winning run then came home on another free pass.
“Getting that first out is huge,” Logue said.
If the Wolves are able to get past Kentlake, they would play the winner of Skyview-Kennedy Catholic at 10 a.m. on Saturday with another state playoff spot on the line. Win or lose, if they make it to Saturday, they will play a second game at Heritage Park at either 4 or 7 p.m.
Tahoma 3, South Kitsap 2
SK 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 — 2 8 2
TA 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 — 3 5 0
WP: Joss LP: McKlosky
South Kitsap — Reidy 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, ER, 6 K; McKlosky o IP, 2 H, R, ER, 2 BB.
Tahoma — Goin 5 IP, 4 H, R, ER, 2 BB; Joss 2 IP, 4 H, R, ER.
South Kitsap — Beers 1-2, 2B, RBI, BB; Canton 1-4, RBI; Duarte 1-4, 2B; Bayne 2-3; McKlosky 1-4; Fazio 1-2, BB; Moritz 1-3, R.
Tahoma — Fritsch 2-3, 2 R; Oswald 1-3, RBI; Olson 0-2, RBI, BB; Green 1-3; Joss 1-3.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.