After scoring four runs in the fifth inning of the West Central District III/Southwest bi-district tournament championship game against Capital and taking a 6-5 lead, the Gig Harbor baseball team looked on its way to a win at Tacoma’s Heidelberg Park.
But three mental mistakes proved costly: An overthrow from center field to third base, which allowed a run to score and tie the game. Second, a Gig Harbor relief pitcher not looking the runner on third base off before throwing out the batter at first, allowing the runner on third to score and take the lead for the Cougars in the top of the 10th inning. And finally, a Gig Harbor base runner getting too big a lead off third base, and getting tagged out in the bottom of the 10th inning on quick grounder to the third baseman.
It all added up to Gig Harbor losing in 10 innings to league foe Capital, 7-6. Gig Harbor had already qualified for the Class 3A state tournament and both teams are No. 1 seeds in the regional round of the state tournament, so the game had little significance. But for the Tides, it’s a teaching moment.
“That’s our goal, to eliminate the mental lapses and just compete,” said Gig Harbor relief pitcher Max Sparrow, who worked out of a jam in the seventh inning to keep the Tides tied.
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The loss wasn’t season ending, but make no mistake, Gig Harbor still wanted to win it.
“We want to win every game we’re in,” Sparrow said. “If that’s in districts or state, it doesn’t matter. But we’re just focused on what’s ahead of us. It’ll be motivation for us.”
Gig Harbor starting pitcher Owen Wild went five innings, giving up seven hits, five runs, walking three, but striking out nine. After giving up three runs in the first inning, Wild settled into a groove, keeping Gig Harbor in the game. The Tides had a big fifth inning, including a Jordan Haworth triple, a play which he scored on after a throwing error.
Kirin Peterson and Bodi Tisch both went 2-for-5, while Max Kein went 2-for-3 in the game.
Gig Harbor coach Pete Jansen lamented the team’s mental lapses.
“They’re a huge difference,” he said. “They’re the reason why (Capital) got the win today. We have to keep playing the way we’re playing and just eliminate those mental mistakes. Without those three mistakes, the game is over.”
Gig Harbor (15-8) faces Kelso (15-8) in the regional round of the Class 3A state tournament on May 19 at Bannerwood in Bellevue. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. The winner will face the winner of Central Kitsap and O’Dea later that night, also at Bannerwood.
GIG HARBOR 7, SHELTON 1
Gig Harbor pitcher Austin Dempewolf, a University of Portland signee, gave up a single to the first hitter of the West Central III/Southwest bi-district semifinal game against Shelton earlier in the day at Heidelberg Park.
That was the only hit he gave up in the game.
His final line: 6 and 2/3 innings, one hit, one run, two walks and eight strikeouts. Gig Harbor scored one run in the first, three in the fourth, one in the fifth and two in the sixth in the win, amassing 10 hits total.
Kirin Peterson was 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs. Jordan Haworth went 2-for-4 with a single and a triple. Cage Hardy had a double and a triple, while Cole Smith went 2-for-2 with two runs scored.