If Gig Harbor was going to lose its first Narrows 4A game of the season, losing to the defending Class 4A state champions probably wasn’t a bad way to go.
South Kitsap (8-4 overall, 4-2 Narrows 4A) came out on top in this year’s game against the Tides at Cheney Stadium, 5-4, on Saturday afternoon.
The Wolves were able to tag Gig Harbor senior ace Mike Toglia, a UCLA signee, for three runs in four innings, one each in the second, third and fourth innings.
“It was just little things, balls that squeaked through,” Toglia said.
South Kitsap first baseman Austin Bayne had Toglia’s number. Bayne went 3-for-3 on the day, including two doubles against Toglia.
“I’ve got to tip my cap to (Bayne), he had a hell of a game,” Toglia said. “I couldn’t figure out how to pitch to him, I guess. You’ve just got to tip your cap to them.”
Gig Harbor (10-4, 7-1) put up a good fight, however. Shortstop Chad Stevens drove in a run in the first inning. In the fourth inning, a Neal Hassan double tied the game at 2-2. Senior Jeremy Schnurman singled in another run to give the Tides a 3-2 lead.
The Wolves scored the final two runs in the bottom of the sixth, with Dusty Garcia bringing Alex Garcia in on a sacrifice fly and Bayne scoring on an error.
Gig Harbor wasn’t quite done yet. Toglia flexed his muscle for the Tides in the top of the seventh, hitting a solo homer over the right-center field fence. It was Toglia’s first hit of the day.
“At that point, I was really just looking to get on base,” Toglia said. “He threw me a middle-in fastball. That’s exactly what I was looking for.”
It was Toglia’s first home run in Cheney Stadium.
“I’ve hit some balls that would leave the yard here,” Toglia said. “But that was my first one here. It was a pretty special moment.”
South Kitsap coach Marcus Logue said he thought giving up the home run to Toglia may have actually been better than him getting on base.
“I think he’s such a great player,” Logue said. “I even said to our (assistant) coach, ‘We’re better off having him hit that home run there and going 5-4 and then going to the next couple guys.’ It worked out for us.”
The rally fell short, as South Kitsap set the next two batters down to end the game.
Gig Harbor had three errors during the game, which proved to be costly.
“We had a few errors, yeah,” said junior pitcher Logan Gerling. “It happens, it’s baseball.”
South Kitsap was happy to come away with the win.
“Gig Harbor, they’re a great team,” Logue said. “Our guys battled and competed. We needed this game to turn our season around. I’m just really proud of our guys. I’m more proud of both the communities coming out here today, supporting our kids (and), more importantly, our armed forces.”