Up 3-2 in the fourth inning against Gig Harbor with a runner on first and one out, Olympia coach Steve Roth elected to walk UCLA signee Mike Toglia, who hit two home runs against the Bears on Monday.
That brought up Gig Harbor senior catcher Jon Burghardt, a Washington State signee. He didn’t appreciate the strategy.
“I think they were taking me lightly,” Burghardt said. “They thought I wasn’t as good as I was.”
He proved them wrong. Burghart smacked an RBI single up the middle to tie the game at 3-3. It snowballed from there.
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Gig Harbor (13-4, 9-1 Narrows 4A), which trailed 3-1 to start the fourth, came up with nine runs in the inning, which proved to be the difference in the 10-4 win for the Tides.
With the victory, Gig Harbor clinched at least a share of the Narrows 4A title. The Tides can clinch the outright title with a win over Stadium on Friday.
Roth said he’d make the same decision in regards to Toglia if he had to do it over again.
“We’re not going to put the kid going to UCLA with the bat in his hand to beat us,” Roth said. “Last year, he hit about a 400-foot shot down the line, too. We’re going to play percentages.”
For Olympia (11-6, 7-5), the “big inning” has been its downfall this season, according to Roth.
“Obviously, they’re good,” Roth said. “On the hill, they’re really good. We just talk about, you can’t give up a big inning, and you’ve got to get one. We didn’t get one.”
Gig Harbor showed patience in the fourth inning against Olympia pitchers James Gunther and Jacob Bowser. The Tides drew four walks, along with a hit-by-pitch.
“We made the pitcher throw strikes,” said Gig Harbor coach Pete Jansen. “Their pitcher threw a lot of pitches, his control was off. The walks hurt them. … Walks kill. I hate walks.”
Gig Harbor’s players appeared confident heading into Friday’s home game against Stadium.
“I think we’re going to clinch (the league title), honestly,” Burghardt said.
Gig Harbor sophomore Jordan Haworth made his varsity debut and made the most of the opportunity, going 2 for 3 with a walk. He had the go-ahead RBI single into right field in the fourth inning, putting the Tides up 4-3. Gig Harbor didn’t trail afterward.
Gig Harbor junior pitcher Avery Jones, another Washington State commit, dazzled in the final three innings in a relief appearance, retiring the side in order in the sixth and seventh. Jansen hinted after the game that Jones likely will slide into the No. 2 pitching spot behind Toglia.