Sports

Trojans sweep South for first baseball wins

Olympic starter Mark Fojtik not only grabbed his first win of the season when Oly beat South Kitsap 8-2 Tuesday in the first game of a double header at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Ballfields, but also his team’s first win. Oly swept the Wolves with a 6-3 win in the second game. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Olympic starter Mark Fojtik not only grabbed his first win of the season when Oly beat South Kitsap 8-2 Tuesday in the first game of a double header at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Ballfields, but also his team’s first win. Oly swept the Wolves with a 6-3 win in the second game.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

For whatever reason, the Olympic Trojans always seem to step up against South Kitsap on the diamond.

“It’s nothing different than what I told the kids,” SK coach Jim Fairweather said following Olympic’s 8-2 and 6-3 sweep of the Wolves at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Ballfields on Tuesday. “Every time we play them, no matter what their record, they get up for these games.”

The then-0-8 Trojans had been having a hard time putting together timely hitting to go with solid defense and pitching. The then-4-2 Wolves remained tied atop the Narrows League’s Bridge Division with an undefeated league record.

But just as Fairweather said, it didn’t matter when the teams met Tuesday, just as it hadn’t last season, when SK was 13-7 and Oly just 9-10. The Wolves fell to Oly 7-3 before squeaking out a 7-6 11-inning win. In 2004 it was the same, with both teams at 10-4 in the Bridge. But again, they split, with South winning 8-3 and falling 9-7 in 8 innings. In 2003, the 5-9 Trojans lost to the 12-2 Wolves 9-5 but rallied to win the second battle 6-4.

But no matter the reason, Oly coach Nate Andrews likes the end result.

“Not a bad way at all,” the Trojans coach said of the team’s first 2006 victories. “We had some great pitching and some great defense. In high school, on any day you get great pitching and defense, you’re gonna score some runs.”

Led by great pitching efforts from Mark Fojtik and Ronnie Purser, the Trojans contained South Kitsap’s offense, as the Wolves have also struggled with timely hitting this season.

Small lapses helped Oly get the upper hand Tuesday, as the Wolves played right into Fojtik’s hands in the first game. Fojtik, more of a ground-ball pitcher who relies on his defense, got South to scatter six singles in the game, not giving up the Wolves’ pair of runs until the bottom of the seventh inning. South was the home team in the first game after Monday’s game was rained out.

“It feels pretty good,” Fojtik said of his near shutout. “Our team needed it.”

With more parity this season than last, when North Kitsap dominated, Andrews said Oly could still sneak into the playoff picture.

“The games we have to win we haven’t played yet,” Andrews said. If we play the baseball we’re capable of, we could sneak in. But it’s one step at a time. Our focus right now is Shelton (on Tuesday).”

The Trojans finally got the timely hitting they’ve been waiting for, hitting Andrew Thatcher for seven runs in the first game. Nick Bankus proved he’s further recovered from a knee injury during football, as Oly’s top player went 2-3 with a pair of RBI. PT Whalen went 1-3 with 2 RBI and Jason Bernett was 1-4 but smacked a 2-run double.

“Anything is possible,” Whalen said after the first win. “We’re a solid team when everything comes together.”

Whalen said a turning point for the team came over break, when the team got together to watch Murderball, an inspirational documentary about quadriplegic rugby players.

“That really got us together,” Whalen said. “It got us away from baseball and put things in a new perspective for us.”

In the second game, Olympic scored five runs in the fifth and sixth innings to break a 1-1 tie and secure the eventual 6-3 win.

“To me, Ronnie and Mark were key in setting the tone,” Andrews said of his starters. “And the defense behind them making plays right out of the gate. It was just a nice all-around effort. Every single guy in the lineup somehow contributed to those games.”

Olympic (2-8, 2-4) travels to winless Shelton Tuesday before hosting the Highclimbers at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday.

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