BELLINGHAM - If you like what you saw out of the Sehome baseball team Thursday, April 11, in a 6-2 Northwest Conference victory over Ferndale at Joe Martin Field, consider a trip to Yakima next spring.
Not only are you almost guaranteed a chance to see the sunshine, but you'll also get a chance to see the same brand of baseball.
In fact, there's a good chance you'll see a number of the same players.
No fewer than three Mariner seniors - Jacob Manson and brothers Brice and Forrest Longanecker- signed letters of intent to play baseball at Yakima Valley Community College in the past week.
And if the trio turns out to be good salesmen, there could even be a fourth, they said.
"When I went down there and watched them, I could see how similar they were to Sehome," Manson said. "I could tell right away that all the guys were together and they play the game the way it's supposed to be played, just like we do here at Sehome."
That bodes pretty well for the Yaks, after the way Sehome (10-3, 4-1 NWC) played in a big win over the Golden Eagles, who entered the day unbeaten in their first four NWC games.
Though the Mariners tallied only six hits in the game, they got good at-bat after good at-bat.
"We have a little quality at-bat chart, and we were real positive with that today," coach Gary Hatch said. "I thought we had a lot of good ABs from one to nine."
Putting that kind of pressure on the Ferndale defense and pitchers finally paid off big in the bottom of the fourth, when Sehome broke open a 1-1 game with five runs.
And the Mariners did it all with the benefit of only three hits.
Manson got the frame started when the laced the first pitch of the inning into center field for a single. Three pitches later Tyler Knutsen doubled him home to give Sehome a 2-1 lead.
"That was a hit and run," Hatch said. "Tyler's a good hitter, and he's a strong kid. He's a real strong kid."
It looked like Ferndale (8-5, 4-1) might keep it to a one-run inning, when it retired the next two Sehome batters, but Brice Longanecker prolonged the inning with a walk, and his brother followed suit to load the bases.
No. 9 hitter Jake Albert then drew a third straight walk to force in a run.
"I thought our discipline at the plate was really good," Hatch said. "Albert had a really good at-bat with the bases loaded. I thought 'I'm going to put the take on there 3-0, and I'm going to put the take on again 3-1. And if he throws a strike, so be it. But 3-2, everybody's running.' That little sophomore has been swinging the bat pretty good for us. I thought that was a really good at-bat."
Josh Zavisubin then turned a good inning into a great inning for Sehome, as he ripped a bases-loaded, two-run single into center field to score the Longaneckers. Albert also trotted home on the play on a Ferndale throwing error.
"One inning can do it," Ferndale coach Donny Hennigs said. "That's the thing about baseball, is you don't know what inning it's going to be or what situation it's going to be. They just won more of the one-on-one battles than we did today in the big spots."
Knutsen, who started the game but had to leave the mound and shift to shortstop when his arm tired after the third, was the only Sehome player to have more than one hit and score more than a run.
Brady Bauthues, who took the loss after giving up only two earned runs on five hits and two walks through four innings, picked up the Golden Eagles' only RBI of the game, while Marshall Weston, Colin Wagner, Zach Cuttsforth and Brady Shearer each had one of Ferndale's four hits.
"We played hard," Hennigs said. "We're playing the game the right way. We just didn't get the big hits today to turn those one-run innings into two or three runs. And that's something they did a good job of, especially in that one inning."
It's something YVCC hopes to benefit from next year.
Catcher Forrest Longanecker was the last of the trio to decide to head to Yakima, though like the other two, he said he was influenced by the Mariners' early-season trip to Yakima last month and the opportunity to practice in the Yaks' facilities.
He said he made the choice over Skagit Valley College, Lower Columbia College and Big Bend Community College.
"I really like their team and their coach," said Forrest, who plans to major in physical therapy. "He's a baseball guy, and he gets a lot of good players and has built a good team."
His brother, a talented relief pitcher and outfielder, said he made his choice a couple of days earlier, choosing YVCC over a number of other community colleges, as well as over talks he had with Western Oregon and Oregon.
"The coach is a good guy, and the squad is a good squad," said Brice, who plans to major in business. "I went down there and visited with Jake, and I liked what I saw. The team has a lot of good chemistry."
Manson, an infielder who went 1 for 3 on Thursday, said he chose the Yaks over Centralia College, Skagit Valley, Big Bend and Lower Columbia because of its familiar feeling.
"I chose it because it was similar to Sehome," said Manson, who is undecided on a major. "We talked about it, and we could all see ourselves playing there. It seemed like a perfect fit."
And the fact that they'll get to continue playing that style of baseball together clinched the deal.
"It's going to be great - I'll get to stick around with my brother and catch him a little more," Forrest said.
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
SEHOME 6, FERNDALE 4
Ferndale 001 010 0 - 2 4 3
Sehome 010 500 x - 6 6 1
WP: Brant Wark. LP: Brady Bauthues. Highlights: Ferndale: Marshall Weston 1-3, R; Colin Wagner 1-3, Zach Cuttsforth 1-3, Brady Shearer 1-2, R. Sehome: Josh Zavisubin 1-4, 2 RBI; Brant Wark 1-3, Jake Mason 1-3, R; Tyler Knutsen 2-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, Aaron Nichols 1-2.