Baseball: Velarde’s clutch hit nets Wolves a win

Olympic League standings

(as of April 16)

Team Lg. Over.

North Kitsap 4-1 6-2

Olympic 3-1 6-4

Port Angeles 3-2 5-4

Sequim 3-3 6-4

Kingston 2-2 3-3

Bremerton 2-4 2-6

North Mason 1-5 2-9

Sequim’s bats are coming through in the clutch — a good sign for the rest of the season.

The Wolves enter the week 3-3 in Olympic League play and 6-4 overall, thanks to a pair of one-run victories last week.

On April 11, Sequim overcame two deficits to edge non-league 3A foe Bainbridge, 10-9.

Bainbridge saw its 6-2 lead disappear with a five-run Sequim in the second inning. The Spartans jumped ahead 9-7 in the top of the fourth inning, but Sequim tied it up with two runs in the bottom half.

The Wolves pushed across the game-winning run in the fifth on an RBI-producing sacrifice fly by Austin Hilliard.

James Thayer picked up the win in relief, going two-and-two-third shutout innings with seven strikeouts.

Hilliard, who got the final out in the seventh for the save, went 2-for-2 with three RBIs and three steals. James Grubb had a double and two RBIs, and Gavin Velarde added two hits and two runs scored.

Grubb, Sequim’s starter, gave up nine runs but only four were earned. He struck out four Spartans.

Bainbridge’s Mitch Kurtz struck out six in relief, while Matthew Spence had two doubles.

A day later, Sequim struggled to get their offense going until the seventh inning, when Gavin Velarde delivered a two-run hit for a 3-2 Olympic League victory.

“I don’t think we had great approaches at the plate,” Sequim coach Dave Ditlefsen said. “I think we were a little too eager (and) their defense played flawless.”

Bremerton took a 1-0 lead in the first with a leadoff walk, a bunt and a single.

Sequim tied it up in the bottom of the fifth with a sacrifice fly by Velarde that scored Ian Miller.

Bremerton answered with a run in the top of the sixth on a double, a stolen base and error on the throw.

That set the stage for a dramatic seventh inning, however. In the bottom of the frame, Miller led off with a walk and Silas Thomas followed with an infield single. After a strikeout, both runners advanced on stolen bases. Velarde then drove home both runners with a line drive single down the left field line.

Miller pitched a complete game with seven strikeouts for the win.

“Ian threw very well,” Ditlefsen said. “He always mixes up his pitches and can throw his curveball for strikes. He was in command the whole time.”

An April 13 home game against Olympic was postponed; the teams will make up the contest April 27.

Looking ahead

Sequim was slated to host 1A Coupeville on April 17. The Wolves are at North Mason on April 19, North Kitsap on April 20, Chimacum on April 25 and Port Angeles on April 26.

Ditlefsen said the Wolves are looking forward to getting back regular Johnnie Young, who is nearly recovered from a hand fracture.