Heartbreakers hurt Wolves' playoff chances

It's not exactly the Chicago Cubs' curse of the ages, but Sequim's baseball crew must be feeling the sting of the bad luck bug about now.

After posting two impressive wins going into spring break to rejoin the playoff chase, the Wolves dropped a pair of one-run, extra inning games last week, putting them two-and-a-half games behind Olympic League 2A division leader Kingston.

"We just can't afford any of those (close losses)," Sequim coach Dave Ditlefsen said. "We need to take the next step."

It looked as if the Wolves were doing just that when they ripped North Mason pitching for eight runs in the first three innings April 10. But the Bulldogs were hitting, too, getting to starter Spencer Middleton for six runs (five earned) in less than three innings pitched. Down 9-7 in the bottom of the sixth, the Bulldogs scored two off reliever Alex Gillis and Rick Cannella won the game with an RBI single off Sequim ace Ben Grubb in the bottom of the eighth for the 10-9 win.

"They hit the ball real well," Ditlefsen said of North Mason, who rattled their bats for 12 hits. Sequim did too, but could only manage one run in the last five innings. "Our bats kind of cooled off," Ditlefsen said.

Freshman Drew Rickerson provided a spark on offense with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate, including a two-run home run, while Max Royall was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and three steals. Reed Omdal was 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs. Since being called up from the junior varsity ranks, Rickerson is 6 for 11.

Sequim then went toe-to-toe with the team Ditlefsen considers the class of the Olympic League in Port Angeles April 11, but dropped a gut-wrenching, 4-3 decision in eight innings.

Up 3-2 in the seventh,

Sequim had a chance to pull off an upset and gain ground in the Olympic League title chase. But the Roughriders took advantage of Sequim miscues for a run in the inning to force an extra frame. In the eighth, with two on and two out, Grubb was called for a balk that drove in the winning run.

Ditlefsen said he didn't see the balk, but noted that Grubb was trying to shake off a sign when called for the balk.

"My biggest complaint is that he wasn't trying to deceive the runner," Ditlefsen said, noting that's why the balk rule was set in place.

For the Wolves, the loss puts them at 3-5 in league play with a tough week ahead: they have three road games this week, with match-ups at Bremerton April 14, at Peninsula (Gig Harbor) April 16 and at Olympic (Silverdale) April 18.

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