Gritty was the lone adjective Ferndale baseball coach Donny Hennigs used to describe the 3-1 win over Meadowdale on Saturday, May 11, in the Class 3A Northwest District Tournament championship game.
"We're real gritty," Hennigs said in a phone interview of his team's mentality. "At the end of seven innings, if you play your game, it usually works out for you."
Whatever Ferndale is doing must be working.
Thanks to three outstanding pitching performances, the Golden Eagles held their opponents to a single run over their three district-tournament wins, cementing their place at the state tournament which begins Saturday, May 18.
Brady Bauthues' pitching performance Saturday was right along with the teams' ability to win despite not being at its best.
"(Bauthues) didn't have his best stuff by any means," Hennigs said of his junior starter, "but he was real competitive, and he refused to give in to anybody."
Bauthues finished the game with a complete-game, five-hitter while walking four and striking out two. And just as Hennigs alluded to, Bauthues found himself in trouble right off the bat in the first inning with runners on first and third with two outs, but he induced a ground-ball out to snuff out the threat.
In response, Ferndale added its first run in the bottom of the first inning to give it a lead it would hold from wire to wire.
Nevertheless, Bauthues had to battle his way out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the fourth that amounted to just one run off a sacrifice fly.
"He found a way to get through the game," Hennigs said. "That is the sign of a true competitor."
The Golden Eagles did a good job of limiting self-inflicted wounds and extra outs not just against Meadowdale, but the entire tournament.
"It was a good, clean game," Hennigs said. "We didn't give up any free bases."
Ferndale didn't commit an error over all three of the tournament games.
The offense for the Golden Eagles was provided by Austyn Sprague, who knocked in two RBI, and Marshall Weston, who added one.
Sprague, though, put together consistently productive plate appearances despite coming into the game struggling, Hennigs said.
"This is what good players do, they show up big in big games," Hennigs said of Sprague's two-RBI performance. "We always knew he would snap out of it."
Bauthues improved to 2-0 without allowing a single run over 14 innings at the tournament.
FERNDALE 3, MEADOWDALE 1
Meadowdale 000 100 0 - 1 5 2
Ferndale 101 010 0 - 3 6 0
WP: Brady Bauthues (6-3). LP: Reece (x-x). Highlights: Ferndale: Austyn Sprague 2-3 2RBI, Pete Pennylegion 2-3 R, Marshall Weston 2-3 R RBI.