Timberwolves finish regular season with a flourish | Baseball

Wolfpack heads into district playoffs on an 8-game winning streak
By David Pan | May 05, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Jackson’s Alec Schuldt pitches to Edmonds-Woodway during a non-conference game Saturday, April 29, at Jackson High School.

The Jackson baseball team finished the regular season on a roll.

The Timberwolves won their last eight games, including seven against their league rivals, to place third in the Wesco 4A standings.

The Wolfpack (9-5 in the league, 12-7 overall) is scheduled to host Wesco 4A No. 6 seed Cascade in a loser-out district tournament game at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 6, at Jackson High School.

Midway through the regular season, the Timberwolves were struggling after getting swept by Mount Vernon and suffering losses to Cascade and Mariner.

Jackson junior Carter Booth said that the 2-1 loss to the Marauders on April 18 marked the turning point for the Wolfpack.

“After our loss to Mariner, we knew that we were better than that,” he said. “I think we all just came together and we’re like what’s wrong? What are we doing that is different. I think we all decided that we needed to have more fun. These past games we’ve just been enjoying the game more and acting like brothers and having each other’s back. It’s showing out on the field.”

Jackson beat Mariner 13-1 in a rematch on April 22 and also recorded two-game series sweeps over Kamiak, Monroe and Lake Stevens. The Timberwolves even beat Wesco 3A South champion Edmonds-Woodway 8-1 in a non-conference game on Saturday, April 29.

The Timberwolves might have got too caught up in looking ahead to the playoffs instead of focusing on the task at hand.

“We all knew where we wanted to be at the end of the season,” Booth said. “I think we were all too focused on the big picture and we needed to think one game at a time and just enjoy the process.”

Wolfpack coach Kirk Nicholson agreed that once his players started to relax, they began to perform better out on the field and experience more success.

“That’s all it is. Once you stop over-gripping, once you stop over-throwing and you just play, that happens,” Nicholson said.

Booth had a big day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with three doubles and three runs, as the Wolfpack defeated Monroe 5-0 on Friday, April 28. Jackson pitcher Jacob Bogacz allowed only two hits in the complete-game effort.

“He looked really good,” Nicholson said of Bogacz. “He was getting ahead in counts and finishing guys off when he had the chance to finish them off. We did a nice job defensively too. I thought our infield played really strong. I thought it was one of our better performances.”

The Wolfpack defeated Kamiak 7-2 on Tuesday, April 25, behind a strong performance by Case Matter, who pitched five innings. Jackson then won 11-7 over Monroe on Thursday, April 27, with the Timberwolves making the most of their five hits.

Nicholson praised pitchers Jackson Webber, Alec Schuldt and Evan McKay, who limited the Warriors to three hits and one run.

“The three guys that threw today I thought did a nice job,” he said.

Jackson closed out the regular season with 7-3 and 10-1 victories over Lake Stevens on Monday and Tuesday, May 2-3. The hits and RBI came up and down the lineup.

“We’re not trying to do too much,” Booth said. “We’re just trying to go 1-for-1 each bat … moving guys around and doing whatever you can to help out.”

Jackson’s pitchers are efficiently doing their jobs.

“They’re just throwing strikes and giving our defense a chance to make plays for them,” Booth said.

The wet weather not only has created havoc at practices but it also meant that Nicholson has been tinkering with his lineup going into the final series of the regular season.

“We’re kind of just getting into the mode of figuring things out,” he said. “We’re still making moves that we think are going to make us better.”

Jackson lost some close games earlier in the season, so Nicholson figured the Timberwolves would get some breaks sooner or later. A one-run loss to Mount Vernon was a particularly tough loss.

“We were due for some things to go our way,” Nicholson said. “Hopefully, that’s the way it keeps going.”

Booth hopes so too.

“We’re definitely on a roll and I think we just need to stick with it and just carry it into districts and see where it can take us,” Booth said.

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