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Peninsula Daily News
SEQUIM — In just his second varsity baseball game, Sequim freshman Nigel Christian’s veteran-like play helped give the Wolves a 6-5 extra-innings win over Port Townsend on Friday.
Standing on third base with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Christian caught Port Townsend catcher Emmett Davis and pitcher Devon Courtney off guard.
After a quick approval from coach Dave Ditlefsen, he broke for home.
“I talked to coach, said I can make it,” Christian said.
“I sat there halfway down the line. Once he threw it, I took off. They weren’t paying attention.
“I was there. Boom.”
The Port Townsend battery couldn’t recover in time, and Christian stole home to cap Sequim’s three-run rally after the Redskins scored a pair of runs in the top of the inning.
“He kind of gave me the look like he wanted to go,” Ditlefsen said of the seconds leading up to Christian’s game-winning theft.
“And we were on the same page. I told him, ‘Better get a good jump.’
“He’s a freshman, and he’s really very baseball savvy, so that’s not a surprise that he would see a weakness and want to take advantage of it.”
The Redskins broke a 3-3 tie in the ninth with a two-out double by Jacob King that brought home James Delagarza from third base.
Cody Russell then brought King around with a line-drive single to center field.
Cameron Harrison opened Sequim’s half of the ninth with a walk and then advanced to third base on Austin Clement’s pinch-hit double.
“He had been sitting for nine innings, and then he came off the bench and did that to give us a chance,” Ditlefsen said of Clement’s clutch hit.
Christian then reached on a hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out for Brett Wright, and the left-hander hit an inside pitch down the first-base line to bring home Harrison and Tanner Rhodefer, who was pinch-running for Clement.
“Inside pitches are what I live for,” Wright said.
“I was happy he pitched me one. I stayed calm and just drove it.”
Two batters later, Christian’s steal ended the game.
“It was amazing. It was probably one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of,” Wright said.
Sequim moved to 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in Olympic League play.
Port Townsend was playing its first game of the season and is now 0-1.
“It was an exciting game. We battled all the way to the end,” Port Townsend coach Tom Webster said.
“It was an unfortunate way to lose. You don’t see that very often.
“I’m proud of our kids. We gave [the Wolves] all they could handle. They usually do pretty well in the Olympic League, so it was a good start for our season.”
Both teams enjoyed solid efforts from their pitching staffs, especially considering it was the first week of the season.
Nick Johnston started for Sequim and went six innings, striking out five batters and allowing only one earned run and five hits.
Russell, Port Townsend’s starter, pitched four innings of one-hit ball, with five strikeouts and just one earned run.
King relieved Russell and fanned two in three innings.
Russell was also big at the plate for the Redskins, going 3 for 5, driving in three runs.
Delagarza went 2 for 4 with a double and two runs, and King was 1 for 5 with an RBI.
“I was pleased with our effort. I thought our pitching stood up pretty well for early in the season,” Webster said.
“We got some key base hits and played some, I would say, pretty good defense.”
Wright had the Wolves’ best bat, finishing with two hits, three RBI, one run and a stolen base.
Sequim had six hits total and nine stolen bases, including three by Mitch Koonz.
Like Webster, Ditlefsen was happy with how his team performed in the early season league matchup.
“For a lot of these kids this is their first varsity game,” he said.
“Sometimes we forget that these kids, they get nervous, and they haven’t been in these situations before.
“Regardless of what happened in that last inning, I thought we played a really good game. We played eight real good innings of baseball [before that].”
Both Sequim and Port Townsend are back in action on Monday.
Sequim travels to Tukwila for a nonleague game with Foster and the Redskins are at North Kitsap.
Sequim 6, Port Townsend 5
Port Townsend 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 2 — 5 9 4
Sequim 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 3 — 6 6 2
WP- Zack Rigg (1-0); LP- Devon Courtney (0-1)
Port Townsend: Russell 4 IP, 5K, 2 R, ER, 1 H, BB; King 3 IP, 2 K, 2 H, ER, 3 BB; Courtney 1 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER.
Sequim: Johnston 6 IP, 5 K, 3 R, ER, 5 H, BB; Rhodefer 2 2/3 IP, 2 K, 2 ER, 4 H; Rigg 1/3 IP, K.
Port Townsend: Russell 3-5, 3 RBI; Delagarza 1-4, R, RBI; Hoffman 1-4 R, RBI; King 1-5, 2B, R, RBI.
Sequim: Wright 2-4, 2B, R, 3 RBI; Rhodefer 1-3, R, SB; Donahue 1-2, 2B, R, SB; Clement 1-1, 2B; Christian 0-4, R, SB.