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Berend earns state series nomination
"Chalk up one last win for the South Kitsap High School baseball team.The Wolves supplied the bulk of the National team that swept both games of Wednesday night's Kitsap-Olympic Peninsula all-star feeder doubleheader at chilly Legion Field. With SK's Nolan Soete supplying the offensive punch and Scott Hartung pitching four innings, the Nationals took the first game 6-2; then Matt Einspahr took over the spotlight, his three-run home run powering the Nationals' 7-6 win in the nightcap.In all, 10 players from the Narrows League champion Wolves took part in the game. Four of them - Soete, Einspahr, Steve Brown and Taren Glover - were among the 10 players nominated to the state all-star games June 10-11 in East Wenatchee.The other nominees are North Kitsap's Clary Carlsen and Ryan Brown, Port Angeles' Jon D'Amore, Bainbridge's Thomas Henshaw, North Mason's Rick Biehl and Klahowya's Jeff Berend.Players from the Olympic League, South Kitsap, North Mason and Chimacum took part in the two eight-inning games, as well as between-games baserunning and home run-hitting contests.It was just like the (regular) season, but a lot more fun, said the Pacific Lutheran University-bound Soete, who lashed a pair of doubles and played some nifty first base for the Nationals in Game 1, then turned closer in the late game, pitching the eighth inning and holding off a last-ditch American comeback. Most of the team's our players.SK's Adam Seward won the early game, pitching the first three innings before Hartung, the portly lefty, took over. Soete got the save in the nightcap, taking over for Central Kitsap's Eric Dickinson, who relieved starter Berend in the fifth and got the win despite getting dinged for four runs in the top of the seventh.The numbers and the statistics, however, were subplots in Wednesday's doubleheader, sponsored by the Red Brown Foundation and the Bremerton Athletic Roundtable.Mostly, it was 16 innings of fun, as longtime rivals became friends and friends became joking rivals.It's awesome, seeing all the talent from around the peninsula in one place, said Bremerton's Angelo Jeanpierre, who closed out a bittersweet senior year that saw him miss both football and basketball seasons because of injuries. It's great just getting the chance to play.We've played summer ball with most of these guys, and against them in school, said North Kitsap's Mike Thomas, who is bound for Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. It was a chance for all the North guys to get together for one last hurrah.It's exciting to hear about where guys are going, said Central Kitsap shortstop Matt Lingenbrink, who will attend Brigham Young University next year, where he'll room with CK's two-time state Class 4A wrestling champion Preston Chadwick. And these guys are just fun to play with. It's good competition.Soete doubled and scored the Nationals' first run of the opener on an error in the second inning. His second double drove in SK's Adam Seward and capped a two-run rally.Berend pitched four innings of two-hit ball, striking out seven, and left with a 4-0 lead in the nightcap - thanks in large part to Einspahr, who was 2 for 2 with a three-run home run.It feels good for us all to go out this way, Soete said of himself and his SK teammates, who compiled a 20-0 regular-season record but were bumped out of the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. It's kind of sad, too. You know you're never going to play with all these guys again."