Brenden Nee was piled on by his Olympia High School teammates after he hit the game-winning single against South Kitsap on Monday.
A few minutes later, he had a bucket of ice water poured down his back.
Olympia’s sophomore catcher deserved that much after edging the Class 4A defending state champion, 4-3, at Crandall Field.
“I was a little bit nervous because it was (a 1-2 count),” Nee said. “I knew the umpire was calling that low and outside fastball a lot, so I kind of saw it coming. I wasn’t really thinking, I just hit it.”
The two-hour, 10-minute game extended into the bottom of the ninth inning before Nee’s two-out bloop to right field scored Tristan Haider.
“We were just really looking for a battle,” Nee said.
The Bears certainly got one.
Olympia put up three runs bottom of the first, after Scott Gunther led off the inning with a double.
Skyler Davis then singled and eventually scored on an overthrow to first that also put Dalton Elliot on base. Elliot scored on a sacrifice fly by Christian Valdez after Nee’s double advanced him to third.
Davis and Elliot both finished 3 for 5.
South Kitsap answered in the second as a two-out single by Bryce Wolfe evened the score. Wolfe was 1 for 4 with two RBIs.
After that? No scoring for seven innings.
“We worked out of a couple of situations,” Olympia coach Steve Roth said. “We were in scoring position a couple of times and they worked out of it, too and made some plays.”
It seemed like Davis would score the go-ahead run in the fifth on a single by Elliot, but South Kitsap’s Conner Seaton nailed him at the plate for the inning’s third out.
Derek Downey — who pitched seven innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits for Olympia — then worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth to stall the Wolves. Downey finished with six strikeouts.
Downey forced Austin Bayne to hit a grounder to second, which Davis scooped up before tagging out Seaton and doubling up Bayne at first to end the inning.
“We just didn’t do what we needed to in the innings where we had opportunities, leaving the bases loaded, and offensively not sticking to the plan we’re trying to preach,” South Kitsap coach Marcus Logue said.
Olympia knocked again in the seventh, but this time Dusty Garcia threw a dart to Alex Garcia at home, and he tagged out Jamie Bautista to end the threat.
“Phenomenal athletes, both Conner and Dusty,” Logue said. “That’s based off of their practice and how hard they work in practice. They’ve done those plays multiple times and felt it. They did a nice job executing those big moments a lot of high school guys wouldn’t be able to execute.”
But Olympia would get the last of the theatrics.
“The first inning or two that we had there offensively for us and them were unusual, I think,” Roth said. “Usually, it’s get one here, get one there.”
Nee got the one that mattered to push Olympia to 5-1 (3-0 4A Narrows), and first place in the league.
South Kitsap (3-2, 0-1) lost its first in a four-day stretch of games. It visits Olympia again at 4 p.m. Wednesday, and will act as the home team.