Versatile Bauthues fills many roles competitive Golden Eagles

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 18, 2013 

Ferndale's Brady Bauthues delivers a pitch against Lynden on April 26.

COLIN DILTZ

There's not a Locker to be found on the roster.

Nor a Hannah.

Jake Schroeder just completed his first spring at Washington State, and all-county players from last year, such as Cody Mason and Alex Pennylegion, also have moved on.

No, the Ferndale baseball team may not have the star power it's had in the past, but the Golden Eagles still have a number of very good ballplayers who managed to do something this year that those Ferndale standouts of the past never accomplished - emerge from an ultra-competitive Class 3A Northwest District with a first-place trophy.

"I think it comes down to the heart and competitiveness of the entire team," junior Brady Bauthues said. "There's not one person in the game or sitting in the dugout that doesn't want to bring everything they can to beat the other team."

The next team Ferndale will try to beat will be West Seattle at 1 p.m. Saturday at Skagit Valley College in the Mount Vernon Regional of the 3A State Tournament. A win would send the Golden Eagles on to the 4 p.m. regional final to face Bonney Lake or Bainbridge for the right to move to next week's state semifinals - a destination Ferndale has yet to end up in its first three trips to state over the past eight years.

But then again, this is a squad that seems to be breaking the mold for Ferndale baseball.

"I think we don't have the prospects running around this year that maybe we did in the past," Golden Eagles coach Donny Hennigs said in a phone interview. "What we do have, though, is consistency throughout the order - one through nine, or even on our bench we've got guys that can come up and get a hit. It makes it tougher to defend us.

"In the past, we had guys that were good one through four, and we had to find a way to get it back to those guys at the top of the order. This year, we've got guys that are competitive one through 11. We've got a lot of different options."

And nobody gives Hennigs and the Golden Eagles more options than Bauthues.

Not only has Bauthues developed into Ferndale's No. 1 option on the mound, he's played everywhere from left and center field in the outfield to second and third base in the infield.

"I just try to come ready to play wherever Coach Hennigs needs me," Bauthues said.

Hennigs said he entered this spring - his first as the head coach after the departure of longtime friend and coach Sean Linville for Blaine - knowing he was going to lean heavily on guys like Bauthues and Austyn Sprague.

"Coming off last year, we knew we were losing a number of good players," Hennigs said. "We had two or three guys with varsity experience, and guys were going to be looking to those guys. We depended on Brady pretty heavily. He's made a big contribution for us both on the mound and at the plate. He's been a staple for us."

Not only has Bauthues played a number of different positions in the field for the Golden Eagles this year, he's shown great versatility on offense, batting everywhere from leadoff to the middle of the order.

"Injury kind of forced us to move him around a bit early on," Hennigs said. "Right now we've got him paired with Austyn, and they make a pretty good middle of the lineup for us."

But unlike years past, if the top or middle of the order doesn't produce, Ferndale's found answers up and down the lineup.

"It's nice, because nobody has too much pressure put on them," Bauthues said. "If the top of the order struggles, we know the guys at the bottom are just as likely to help us put runs on the board."

Same goes for in the field, where Ferndale played error-free in three games in the district tournament.

"On the mound, it gives you a lot of confidence," Bauthues said. "If you make a little mistake here or there, you know the defense behind you is going to pick you up."

Bauthues hasn't made many mistakes on the mound this year, though.

He scattered seven hits in a first-round shutout win over Mountlake Terrace on May 4 and allowed five hits in a 3-1 win over Meadowdale in the May 11 district championship game.

"He competes," Hennigs said of Bauthues' approach on the mound. "He gives us a chance to win. He doesn't give up any free base hits, and he uses the defense behind him. ... He changes speeds real well, and he's got a decent breaking ball, but most of all, he's got the wherewithal to know what needs to be thrown when and does it. He's not a guy that's going to blow up anybody's radar gun, but he knows how to pitch."

Sandwiched around Bauthues' two outings was a sparkling three-hit shutout performance by Marshall Weston in a surprising 5-0 semifinal win over Shorewood - a team many considered one of the top teams in the state.

"I think that really boosted our confidence and shows that we can play with anybody in the state," Bauthues said.

Ferndale knows it will have to come ready to play again on Saturday. West Seattle (18-5) won the Metro League, but lost in the semifinals of the Sea-King District Tournament to earn the No. 3 seed.

"It will come down to focus on playing the game and playing solid defense," Bauthues said. "We need to throw strikes and get good pitching and get runs when we can. We're pretty excited, because we have a shot to do something Ferndale hasn't done yet. To do that, we need to focus on what we can do and not worry about the other team."

That's definitely something that has served Bauthues and the Golden Eagles well so far this spring.

"Competitiveness comes in all shapes and sizes of people," Hennigs said. "We don't pass the eyeball test as Greek gods out there, but these guys are competitive, and they've shown an ability to win games."

Reach David Rasbach at david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or 360-715-2286.

SATURDAY'S FIRST ROUND STATE BASEBALL GAMES

CLASS 3A

Mount Vernon Regional at Skagit Dream Field

First round: West Seattle vs. Ferndale, 1 p.m.

CLASS 2A

Bellingham Regional at Joe Martin Field

First round: Lynden vs. Lindbergh, 10 a.m.

CLASS 1A STATE TOURNAMENT

Castle Rock Regional

First round: Montesano vs. Mount Baker, 10 a.m.

Moses Lake Regional at Larson Playfield

First round: Meridian vs. Naches Valley, 1 p.m.

NOTE: Regional championship games would follow at 4 p.m. for any teams that win.

GAMECAST

Look for a live gamecast from Ferndale's games at the Mount Vernon Regional at bellinghamherald.com/sports

Reach DAVID RASBACH at david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2271.

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