Gig Harbor 7, Olympia 3

(Olympia, WA) The Olympia Bears knew if they had any hope of winning the Narrows League Championship they had to win their final 2 league games against Gig Harbor. The Tides and all the other Narrows league teams had 4 league games left because this is a 7 team league so 1 team gets a bye while the other 6 are playing each other so Olympia’s turn for the bye is the final week of league.

The Tides came into the game in 1st place with a 7-1 record while the Bears were 7-3. So even with a loss the Tides would have time to make it up but South Kitsap was just behind at 6-2 and Timberline making a late run at 5-3. The Tides also knew a win would put them one step closer to clinching the league title and #1 seed into the District Tournament.

Michael Toglia got the start on the hill for Gig Harbor while Derek Downey went for Olympia. Both pitchers worked quickly and threw a lot of strikes in fact Toglia struck out the side in the 1st inning while Downey set down the 1st 8 in order. In the top of the 3rd the Tides did get a couple of 2-out hits but Downey would record a strike-out ending the threat.

The Tides would break through in the top of the 4th when Toglia led off with a massive shot to left field and over the fence for a 1-0 lead. Olympia’s Scott Gunther then stole a likely triple from Jon Burghardt as he laid out in the right center gap to grab a well hit ball by Burghardt. Downey then got the next 2 to get out of the inning.

The 5th inning is where the wheels fell off for the Bears. The inning began with a little tapper by Cameron Macintosh between the catcher and pitcher and Downey picked up the ball and overthrew 1st baseman Christian Valdez and Macintosh was aboard. After a failed bunt attempt by Jeremy Schnurman he came through with a 2-strike base hit. After a strike-out, RJ Green slapped a base hit scoring Macintosh and it was 2-0. Colton Robinson made it 3-0 with an RBI base hit. Toglia then stepped up with 2 on and cleared the bases with his 2nd home run of the game this time a bomb over the right center field fence and just like that it was 6-0.

Oly’s Fred Carpenter would come in to pitch in the 6th and took a while to get settled down and 4 walks added another run but he struck out the final 2 batters who were Toglia and Burghardt, the 3rd and 4th hitters to end the inning.

The Bears would get their 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th when Toglia apparently got a little tired trying to get the complete game. He would walk Ben Pedigo and Daulton Elliott to lead off the bottom of the 7th. Brenden Nee would then get his 3rd hit of the game with a soft line drive into right field. Being down 7, the Bears chose to be conservative and held the runners and the bases were full. Alex Harrison would come in to relieve Toglia and gave up an RBI single to Christian Valdez. After a strike-out Jamie Bautista then hammered one into the gap and 2 would score but the runner on 1st hesitated so it turned out to be a long 2 RBI single. A pop-up fly ball was the 2nd out and Scott Gunther came to the plate. On the 2nd pitch Tides catcher Burghardt noticed Bautista was well off of 1st base and gunned it to Schnurman who tagged Bautista for the 3rd out and the game was over.

Tides Head Coach Pete Janson said that was a key play as the Bears had built up some good momentum and the last thing you want to see after leading 7-0 is the tying run come to the plate. Janson was pleased with the focus of his players and about Toglia simply said pretty fun to watch that swing. The Tides are now 8-1 in league with 3 to play. they will host Olympia on Wednesday in the Bears league finale and then they will have 3 non-league game to wrap up the season.

Our Tommy Lowe of Greene Realty Players of the Game went to Michael Toglia of Gig Harbor and for Olympia Brenden Nee. Our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game goes to catcher Jon Burghardt throwing out the Oly runner at 1st for the final out of the game.

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By paulb

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