BELLINGHAM - Sehome's baseball club throughout the years has become known for its ability to manufacture runs and thrive playing small-ball.
So when Ferndale senior pitcher Brady Bauthues was asked what he thought of how the Golden Eagles grinded out a 10-inning win, he couldn't help but smile.
"We got some stuff done that we really practice," Bauthues said. "I think we put down three or four bunts. We hardly ever do that. We got a squeeze, played a little bit of Sehome's ball there. It was kind of cool."
Ferndale needed three extra innings and overcame strong Mariners' pitching and defense but moved runners when it needed to, earning a 3-2 non-conference win Tuesday, March 18, at Sehome High School.
Bauthues threw seven innings of four-hit ball, recorded two of Ferndale's five hits and scored the game-winning run in the 10th inning.
Senior pitcher Andrew Littrell earned the win. He tossed the final three innings and held the Mariners hitless, including the bottom of the 10th after Ferndale's Nate Carlson put the Golden Eagles in front by a run in the top half of the inning with a sacrifice fly to right field that drove in Bauthues.
The win was Ferndale's first of the year, but Sehome made the Golden Eagles earn it. It wasn't an offensive showcase. Ferndale coach Donny Hennigs continuously reiterated "a win is better than loss" during his postgame team address.
"It's kind of a morale (win)," Hennigs said. "Getting that first one is a good feeling, a weight lifted off and hopefully we can build off it."
Both clubs struggled at the plate, but pitched well and backed their respective pitchers with tremendous defense. Combined, Sehome and Ferndale recorded nine hits, and five of those came during the seventh inning and later.
Sehome managed only two hits through the first sixth and one-third innings, but made the most of its opportunities. Mariners senior Josh Zavisubin led off the fourth with a single, and Leif Anderson, who pitched a strong four and two-thirds innings in relief of starter Kealohi Grondin, drove Zavisubin in with a base- loaded, two-out, slow-rolling single up the middle.
Ferndale put good contact on several Sehome pitches, but the Mariners constantly seemed to be in the right place, and despite the Golden Eagles' ability to get around the bases, they couldn't push a run across until late in the contest.
Ferndale had early opportunities, though. It had a runner on third with one out during both the first and second innings, but Grondin got out of the jam both times. After Joey Akers' single in the top of the first, the Golden Eagles didn't get another hit until Corbin Puhan's squeeze bunt in the bottom of the seventh.
"It was an early game and the bats for both teams weren't doing so well," Hennigs said. "It was a pretty clean game, not a lot of walks and guys kicking the ball around. You just have to play that way until the bats start to catch up with the rest of the game."
But Ferndale's inability to capitalize early on was erased by its late-game play.
Trailing 1-0 in the seventh, the Golden Eagles loaded the bases with one out thanks to two walks and a pair of bunts. Puhan scored Brady Shearer to tie the game with a squeeze bunt, and Akers drove in Kole Weidkamp with a sac fly to center field to give Ferndale a 2-1 lead.
Sehome answered back, though, to send the game in extras. After Davis Hampton reached first after being hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the seventh, Tyler Hruby and Owen Wright hit back-to-back singles. Wright's scored Hampton from second to even the game.
"It showed some character," said Sehome coach Gary Hatch of his club's ability to rally late. "There's a lot of character-proving right there."
Hampton worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning, but eventually Ferndale broke through thanks to Bauthues' leadoff single in the 10th followed by Carlson's sac fly four batters later.
Littrell set Sehome down in order in the bottom of the 10th to seal the win.
"That was big," said Bauthues of Ferndale's ability to piece together its final run. "That put us ahead and gave Littrell some good fire to really come out and keep throwing strikes."
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
FERNDALE 3, SEHOME 2 (10)
Ferndale 000 000 200 1 - 3 5 1
Sehome 000 100 100 0 - 2 4 3
WP: Andrew Littrell. LP: Davis Hampton. Highlights: Fern: Brady Bauthues 2-4, R, BB, 7 IP; Corbin Puhan 1-4, RBI. Seh: Owen Wright 1-4, RBI; Leif Anderson 1-2, RBI, 4 2/3 IP.
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.