South grabs invites for Babe Ruth state

"Looking like a team that had played together for years, The South Kitsap Babe Ruth 13-year-old all-star baseball team used a balanced offense and solid defense to defeat Central Kitsap 10-0 in the district championship game Sunday in Port Orchard.The win advances SK to the eight-team state tournament at Bainbridge Island in two weeks.Bremerton was the only other team in the tournament, but SK proved it was the strongest team, outscoring its opponents 36-1. After defeating Bremerton 13-1, SK rolled to 13-0 and 10-0 wins against CK.Though the score was lopsided, the championship game had highlights ESPN might consider for its plays of the week.Leading 2-0 after the first inning, SK added six more runs in the top of the second inning, but could have earned more.Jonathan Rowan, who pitched a complete game shutout, found himself in two rundowns as a baserunner on the third-base line.The first one had him running up and down a few times before being tagged out at third base.He was able to elude a tag in the fourth inning when a wild throw by catcher Curtis Hamman sailed over the head of CK third baseman Brett Murphy.CK had a chance to cut into SK's 8-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Greg Biel led off with a double and and Ryan Stromatt earned a walk.The two pulled off a double steal to put runners on second and third with no outs.Grey Bashore followed with what looked like a deep enough fly ball in center field to score Biel from third base on a sacrifice.But catcher Doug Franz applied the tag on a laser-beam throw from center fielder Grant Sampson.Stromatt tried to advance to third base but Franz nailed him at third base to complete the rare triple play.SK finished the game without committing an error, though that didn't surprise team manager Steve Bates.This team is about as equal as I've ever had, Bates said. I could pull three kids and put in three kids and we don't miss a beat. It's the strongest team I've ever been associated with.Rowan walked five, but gave up just two hits.He struck out only four batters, but three of them came in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the game (10-run rule).Bates said the most impressive thing about his team isn't the offense, defense or pitching.What I'm most proud about is that they are playing as a team, Bates said. Nobody complains while sitting out. Guys that are sitting are up on the fence cheering.As for their chances at state, Bates said his squad has a strong chance because of his pitching depth, though he said Bainbridge Island and teams from eastern Washington should be tough.We're eight (pitchers) deep, I'm not kidding, Bates said. And that's what you need when you play a five-day or four-day tournament, pitching depth."

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