South Kitsap’s baseball team can finally do two things — hoist the golden glove for the Class 4A Baseball State Championship, and hold one finger in the air in celebration.
“Once we won the Narrows (League), the North-Central (District), a couple of the reserves are like, ‘Hey, let’s put the ones up,’ and I was like, ‘Nope, we’re not that team yet. You have to earn that right,’” South Kitsap coach Marcus Logue said. “Today they could put their ones up.”
The 5-2 win over Newport of Bellevue was full of close calls and great plays, as the Wolves took the win in eight innings on Saturday, May 30, at Joe Martin Stadium in Bellingham.
After Newport tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the seventh to force extras, South Kitsap only put one of the first three batters on base in the eighth. Newport’s Nick Rudholm allowed a single and a walk to the next two batters to set up Austin Hackman with a two-out, bases-loaded situation.
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Hackman, who was 0 for 3 with a walk to that point, ripped a first-pitch fastball between the shortstop and third baseman to score Bryce Wolfe from third and give the Wolves a 3-2 lead.
“I was just looking for a first-pitch fastball because he had been locating on and off and I knew he would try to locate to get ahead in the count early,” Hackman said. “He threw the first-pitch fastball right over the plate, and I put a good swing on it.”
Hackman made a slight change in his approach after his struggles earlier in the game, Logue said.
“He’s a perfectionist, he wants to do it right,” Logue added. “He is one of the hardest-working guys on the team. He and I have a lot of attributes that are similar, so I told him to just stay the course, get short to the ball. He didn’t have to do too much, just hit it over the infielder’s head. He was hitting like .419 in the regular season, but struggle din the playoffs, and that was a good adjustment in his approach.”
Up next was Mac McCarty, the hard-hitting third baseman. He took a strike before driving a pitch over the third baseman and into shallow right field along the line, scoring two more runs and giving the Wolves the lead for good.
Newport had forced the extra frame by answering South Kitsap’s seventh-inning run with one of its own. Leadoff hitter Eathan Paul walked to start the inning and stole second. No. 2 hitter Jace Goforth was able to lift a single just far enough into right field to score Paul and force South Kitsap to pull pitcher Nathan Archuleta. Nathaniel Rowan came in to finish the inning and came out with the win.
Newport pitchers AJ Block and Nick Rudholm combined for nine walks in the contest. Paul Wells was 2 for 3 with a run, two doubles and a stolen base to lead the Knights on offense.
McCarty finished 3-5 with 4 RBI for the Wolves, and South Kitsap pitchers Lucas Knowles, Archuleta and Rowan combined for four walks and six strikeouts.
South Kitsap 5, Newport (Bellevue) 2 (8)
WP: Nathaniel Rowan. LP: Nick Rudholm. Highlights: Newport (Bellevue): Alex Lambeau 2-3, RBI; Paul Wells 2-3, R, 2 2B, SB; Ethan Paul 1-3, R, 2 SB, BB. South Kitsap: Mac McCarty 3-5, 4 RBI; Austin Hackman 1-4, RBI, BB; Dusty Garcia 0-2, 2 R, 3 BB.