Sports

Spartans roll behind offense

Sumner High coach John Welker admits that his crew is playing some solid baseball.

“We have had our moments this season so far,” he said. “From an offensive standpoint we are a very confident team.”

And why shouldn’t the Spartans be confident? In three of its last four games, Sumner has dammed up White River 11-1, tranquilized Bonney Lake’s Panthers 11-1 and survived a nine-inning slugfest over Peninsula 11-8.

The Spartans lead the South Puget Sound League 3A in hitting with a blistering overall team batting average of .369. Starting first baseman Brad Falk is hitting at a torrid .600 pace with a half dozen round trippers and nearly 20 runs batted in. Junior catcher Alex Sloan is sporting a white hot .485 average with five homers and 18 RBI.

But Welker has been around the block a time or two, so his optimism is guarded to say the least.

“We don’t want to count our chickens, but we have the best hitting we’ve had in years and I feel as though we have at least enough pitching to battle for a playoff spot,” he said.

“There is a certain measure of parity in the league, so most of the games are very close and come down to who wants it more,” Welker said. “The young guys on this team just have to focus for the entire game until the last out and remember to run out everything.”

Welker believed his squad wasn’t entirely focused during a 10-3 loss at Enumclaw April 15.

In its only other game last week – at Peninsula on Thursday – Sumner was nurturing an 8-3 advantage heading into the bottom of the seventh stanza. Apparently, the Spartans then displayed some of the complacency that Welker was referring to, as the sneaky Seahawks put up a five spot to tie the wild affair, sending the nailbiter into bonus frames.

Neither team scored in the eighth, then in the top of the ninth Sumner tallied three runs and relied on some great relief pitching by senior lefty Mike Dent to salt away the victory and give Sumner a 6-4 league mark coming into this week.

The Spartan’s dance card is already full this week. Sumner was slated to host Peninsula Monday and travel to Clover Park on Tuesday, with the results of both those games coming too late to report here. Sumner gets a chance to knock off the top dog in the SPSL 3A standings, Auburn Mountainview, when it hosts the Lions at 4 p.m. today, Wednesday. The Spartans finish their week wit a 4 p.m. game Friday at Lakes.

Reach John Leggett at jleggett@courierherald.com or 360-802-8207.

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