Mike Toglia doesn’t need a lot of run support to collect a win on the mound.
That was evident in Saturday’s opening round Class 4A state tournament game at Heritage Recreation Center against Mount Si, which the Tides won, 1-0 behind a masterful pitching performance from Toglia.
Shortstop Chad Stevens hit an RBI double in the top of the first inning to score Toglia, and that’s all the Tides would need to seal the win.
Toglia’s final line: seven innings (complete game), seven strikeouts, no walks, three hits, no runs.
“Today, my changeup was working,” Toglia said. “I was spiking my curveball, I couldn’t find it. So I had to resort to my change-up even more than I usually do. I had to make some adjustments.”
Looking back, it might have been a good thing that Toglia couldn’t command his curveball, because his outside change-up was practically unhittable.
“That’s been his great pitch all year long,” Gig Harbor coach Pete Jansen said. “It looks so much fastball and then at the very end, it’s slow and it dives. There aren’t a lot of guys that hit his change-up. Not a lot of guys that can put it in play.”
Gig Harbor hadn’t faced Mount Si (18-6) during the season, and the Tides’ players and coaches didn’t know much about the Wildcats.
“The game plan with this team was just trusting my teammates, trusting my teammates, trusting in my abilities,” Toglia said. “The biggest thing on the mound is just having confidence and being able to flush anything, whether it be a bad call by the ump, an error or a dink base hit. You just have to keep a level head and move on to the next batter.”
Gig Harbor’s defense was stellar behind Toglia all game long.
“Our defense made the routine plays and made some plays that weren’t routine,” Jansen said.
Gig Harbor (17-8) went on to lose its quarterfinal game later in the day to Kentwood, 7-4, which eliminated the Tides from the postseason.
The Conquerors jumped on Gig Harbor senior pitcher Avery Jones early, tallying six runs in the first two innings. Senior Ben Wadowski hit a two-run triple to get the scoring started, and senior Daniel Tanaka followed that up with a two-run homer to left field to give Kentwood a four-run first inning.
“Obviously, that’s huge,” said Kentwood coach Mark Zender. “You don’t expect to score that many runs that fast. We spent all week really hitting. That was our focus. We have a pretty good defense and a decent pitching staff. We thought our hitting had not really been what it could be. We spent a lot of time taking batting practice.”
Gig Harbor rallied with a three-run fourth to cut its deficit to 6-3, but the hole proved too deep to escape. Colton Robinson, Toglia, Jon Burghardt and Cameron MacIntosh all picked up hits during the fourth inning.
The bottom third of Gig Harbor’s order managed only one hit in the loss. Gig Harbor ended its season one game shy of reaching the 4A state semifinals for the second consecutive year. The Tides ultimately took third in the 2015 4A state tournament.