Cheney Stadium seems to be Gig Harbor’s lucky field. More specifically, the third base dugout at Cheney Stadium seems to be Gig Harbor’s lucky dugout.
The last time the Tides played on the Rainiers’ home turf, they came from behind to score four runs and beat Capital 9-8 for the 1997 state championship.
Today, Gig Harbor was in the same third base dugout, hoping for a similar outcome. The Tides pulled out their first league win of the season, a 4-2 league victory over South Kitsap.
“It’s like you’re playing at a spring training game,” said pitcher Matthew Henckel of playing at Cheney Stadium. “The atmosphere is great. Just pitching out there, it’s a great feeling.”
The Tides (5-0) ran a no hitter defense up until the top of the seventh inning with pitchers Henckel and Michael Toglia leading the way. They threw a combined six strikeouts and allowed just three hits.
Henckel didn’t allow any hits in his four innings on the mound, and the Oregon commit said it had a lot to do with confidence in his team behind him:
The Tides scored all four runs in the second inning, building off three back-to-back doubles from Chad Stevens, Garrett Lean, and Andrew Parker. Lean and Parker’s fly balls to left and right field, respectively, brought in two runs.
Colton Robinson singled to center field, bringing Parker home. Lean, Parker, and Robinson each finished with two hits and an RBI. A double from Wyatt Elledge gave Gig Harbor its final run.
South Kitsap (2-3) scored both of its runs in the seventh inning. Drew Worden and Cooper Canton hit back-to-back doubles, and Dustin Garcia’s line drive single to center brought Canton home.
The momentum was what South Kitsap coach Marcus Logue needed to see, but it happened too little too late.
“I just got to make sure we’re aggressive early,” Logue said. “We’re trying to preach it, but guys are just trying to get the perfect pitch, so we’ve just got to do a better job of getting after it and not be afraid of making mistakes.”
After losing 11 seniors last year, Gig Harbor has not had any trouble reloading. Coach Pete Jansen said the team is still “putting the pieces of the puzzle together” in terms of permanent positions. Two of the players who hit doubles in the second inning do not start regularly yet.
The juniors, including Toglia and Robinson, were part of a talented freshman class two years ago, and Jansen said the team has been fortunate with that depth.
“We’re young, but we don’t play like we’re young,” said Jansen.