SPORTS: Sequim comes from behind to beat archrival Port Angeles 12-10 in sloppy, muddy baseball game

SEQUIM — Only one pitcher conquered Mound Everest amid Thursday afternoon’s damp, drizzly chill at Sequim High School.

Oddly enough, it was a knuckleballer.

Jake Hudson went two-plus innings without surrendering a run, and the Sequim Wolves rallied from an early six-run hole to beat Port Angeles 12-10 in a wild game that featured 28 walks and three hit batters.

The Wolves took advantage of 16 free passes from Port Angeles pitching, including eight in a six-run sixth inning, and four Rider errors to earn their sixth win in eight games and vault to the top of the Olympic League standings.

“Their pitchers had an off day, and we didn’t help them out,” Sequim (7-2 in league, 10-3 overall) coach Dave Ditlefsen said.

“We capitalized on it.”

Sequim finished its marathon stretch (eight games in 11 days) by winning a marathon game (3 hours, 21 minutes).

Eight different pitchers climbed Sequim’s eyesore of a mound — nicknamed “Mound Everest” for its unusual height and sharp break in the front — in Thursday’s wet and chilly conditions.

Only Hudson, the game’s winning pitcher, was able to avoid walking more than one batter.

That said, his dancing knuckler did find the back of two different Rider hitters in his two-plus innings of work; a stretch that saw Sequim go from being down 8-4 in the fourth to up 12-9 in the sixth.

“We’re used to [the mound], so it doesn’t really matter all that much to us,” Hudson said.

“But it’s probably different for [opposing pitchers] trying to throw off that monster.”

Hudson retired Port Angeles’ second, third, fourth and fifth hitters in order between the fifth and sixth innings, getting a pair of fly outs and ground outs each.

His 1-2-3 showing in the top of fifth inning — coming against the meat of the Rider order — marked the only time all game that the side was retired in order.

“It’s a great feeling,” Hudson said of getting the win. “They can hit.

“Just getting their [Nos.] 2, 3, 4 hitters [in a row] was really big for me. That boosted my confidence, helped the team I think.

“It was the best I can do.”

It was enough to allow Sequim an opening to retake the lead in a bizarre bottom of the fifth that saw Port Angeles pitchers walk eight batters.

Despite not putting the ball in play until the final at bat of the inning — a ground out to the shortstop — the Wolves scored six runs to go ahead 12-9.

That included five consecutive run-scoring walks with the bases loaded from Rider reliever Derek Crain, who was handed the loss.

“We just couldn’t throw strikes,” Port Angeles coach Bob Withrow said.

“Two guys who come out and throw nothing but strikes [including reliever Brian Senf with two walks to begin the inning] couldn’t throw strikes there.”

In all, Rider pitching gave out 16 free passes, eight of which came with the bases loaded.

While Withrow would not comment on what effect Sequim’s tall mound might have had on that total, he did remark, “There’s an elephant on the field.”

Added Withrow, “They had to pitch on the same field, and they got more outs than we did when they needed them, so we kind of let that one get away.”

Indeed, Port Angeles (4-3 in league and overall) looked to be in control of the game early after jumping out to a 7-1 lead in the top of the second inning.

The Riders battered Sequim starter Drew Rickerson for four hits and seven runs in that frame, highlighted by a two-run double to center field from Cody Sullivan.

The senior outfielder finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored.

A.J. Konpaski, who stared on the mound for the Riders and gave up four runs (two earned) in three innings, was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Crain also had two hits with a double, two RBIs and a run scored; including a two-run single in the seven-run second inning.

Sequim began chipping away with three runs in the third and two in the fourth before breaking the game open in the sixth.

Hudson tamped down a Port Angeles rally after coming on with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the fourth, getting consecutive outs on a force out at home and pop up.

After he got into trouble by loading the bases with one out in the top of the sixth, closer Kyler Johnston came on and induced a pop out and ground out to end the threat.

Johnston allowed one more Rider run in the top of the seventh before getting Senf to pop out with the tying runner on second base.

“Jake and Tyler both did a great job, especially Jake with that knuckler,” Ditlefsen said. “These aren’t great conditions for a knuckleball, so he got us a really good couple of innings out there and that was big.“

Sequim finished with five hits on the game.

Isaac Yamamoto, Tyler Campbell, Preston McFarlen, Karsten Wake and Nick Ramirez all had singles.

In the end, it was the Wolves’ willingness to lay off Port Angeles’ erratic pitching that did the most damage.

“I think it’s the mound, I think it’s the rain, it’s the cold [that caused so many walks].” said Ditlefsen, whose pitchers had 12 walks themselves. “It just wasn’t great conditions for a baseball game.

“But we’ve been backed up so many times that if you can play, you play.”

Thursday’s game was a makeup of one that was scheduled to be at Volunteer Field on Wednesday.

Now Port Angeles must play five games in eight days, beginning with today’s contest at North Kitsap.

Sequim gets a day off before hosting Cascade Christian on Saturday.

Sequim 12, Port Angeles 10

Port Angeles 0 7 0 2 0 0 1 ­— 10 9 4

Sequim 1 0 3 2 6 0 X — 12 5 2

WP- Hudson (2-1); LP- Crane (0-1); S – Johnston

Pitching Statistics

Port Angeles: A.J. Konopaski 3IP, 3H, 2BB, 4R, 2ER, 4K, HBP; Senf IP, H, 5BB, 4R, 3ER; Crain 0.1IP, 0H, 6BB, K, 4ER; Pitz 1.2IP, 0R, H, 3BB, 2K.

Sequim: Rickerson 1.2IP, 5H, 3BB, 6ER, 4K; Yamamoto 1.2IP, 2H, 5BB, 2ER, K; Hudson 2IP, H, BB, 2HBP, 0R; Johnston 1.2IP, H, 3BB, ER.

Hitting Statistics

Port Angeles: Crain 2-5 (2RBI, R); Sullivan 2-4 (2 2B, RBI, 2R, BB); A.J. Konopaski 3-4 (2B, 2RBI, BB); Morgan 1-1 (R, 4BB).

Sequim: McFarlen 1-4 (2RBI, BB, R); Yamamoto 1-3 (RBI, 2R, BB); Ramirez 1-3 (2R, BB); Campbell 1-1 (R, 2BB); Wake 1-2 (RBI, R, 2BB).

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