Gig Harbor baseball coach Pete Jansen asked his hitters to be patient and make Rogers pitcher Jake Talbot work for his outs.
After two innings, Talbot had thrown 51 pitches, Gig Harbor had scored three runs — all unearned off a mixture of walks, wild pitches, passed balls and errors — and the Rogers right-hander left the game with a back injury.
And the Tides cruised to a 7-1 victory from there May 13 at Heritage Park in Puyallup to advance to a winner-to-state game against Tahoma.
Rogers finishes 15-8.
“We decided before the game that we got to get (Talbot’s) pitch count up early in the game,” Jansen said. “I told the guys, ‘Let’s really figure out where the umpire’s strike zone is and then we are going to lay off pitches that the umpire is going to call balls.’ That’s where he got in a lot of trouble.”
Meanwhile, Gig Harbor pitcher Michael Toglia, a Washington State commit, followed Matthew Henckel’s shutout of Curtis in the first round with a complete game, allowing one unearned run in the fourth inning. He threw 87 pitches over seven innings.
He credited his change-up.
“It’s easily my best pitch,” Toglia said. “I started throwing it when I was 4 and I didn’t start throwing my curveball until I was 13. I’ve had a lot more time to work on it. It’s my go-to (pitch).”
Jon Burghardt scored the first run of the game for Gig Harbor on a wild pitch. An error two batters later allowed two more to score. Talbot, who entered the game with a 1.39 ERA in 40 1/3 innings and 54 strikeouts, finished the second inning but left after that.
“He said he was just a little tired,” Rogers coach Matt Whitehead said. “He just didn’t have the stuff he normally has.”
Gig Harbor went on to beat Tahoma, 5-3, and Decatur, 16-2, on Saturday to earn a trip to the Class 4A state tournament. The Tides will face University (Spokane) at 10 a.m. Saturday (May 23) at Heidelberg Park in Tacoma.