The Gig Harbor Tides defeated the Stadium Tigers 6-3 on a sunny Friday afternoon at Gig Harbor High School.
The Tides rode the momentum of a three-run bottom of the third and held on for the victory. Senior pitcher Conor Scanlan got the start and gave the Tides (8-2 overall, 5-1 Narrows League 4A) a productive outing, limiting the Tigers to two runs in three innings. For the most part, Scanlan said he was pleased with his start.
“I felt pretty good,” Scanlan said. “I’ve had a few starts this year and I think it’s just going to get better and better. We had some unforeseen difficulties, I was off a little bit. I had to fight through it. Good thing I have a good offense behind me and a fantastic defense.”
Head coach Pete Jansen said Scanlan was pulled after three innings because of his high pitch count and some command issues, which he’d like to see rectified. Still, he said he was happy with the outing.
“He’s a competitor,” Jansen said. “Any time he goes to the mound, we’re comfortable that he’s going to get the job done.”
After building a 3-2 lead going into the home third, the Tides’ offense exploded. Scanlan began the inning with a double off the left field fence, and Quintin Carlson quickly brought him home. A Drew Barnett sacrifice fly and third baseman Sterling Brown’s RBI extended the lead to 6-2, which the Tides hung on to for the rest of the game.
Before the season began, Jansen and some of the players mentioned timely hitting as their primary focus going into the year. At this point in the season, the bats have come alive.
“We’ve got some younger guys who are in their first year on varsity, and I think they’re adjusting fantastically,” Scanlan said. “We emphasize it in practice, we work a lot on hitting. We have a naturally pretty sound defense. We pound it in the cages and we’re always working on the field, so we’re definitely working on it and it’s showing.”
Jansen said the Tides are producing on offense and defense.
“We’ve been getting the timely hitting, so that’s what’s really nice,” Jansen said. “We’ve been getting a lot of hits and we’ve been playing excellent defense. We’ve been making the routine plays quite often ... we’re even making the really nice plays.”
While the Tides appear to be firing on all cylinders, Jansen still wants the team to be sharper.
“I would like to improve on limiting mental mistakes,” Jansen said. “We’ve been working a lot on two-strike at-bats. We want to put the ball in play, we don’t want strikeouts. We’ve done that for the last couple weeks — there’s been a big improvement. We want to put the ball in play. We might not get a hit every time, but it’s better than striking out and walking back to the bench.”
Scanlan said he’d like to see continued improvement and better understanding in different situations at the plate.Jon Manley: 253-358-4151 firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @gateway_jon