BELLINGHAM - Sehome pitcher Josh Zavisubin agrees with coach Gary Hatch that he needs to throw more fastballs and fewer curves, at least for now.
What Zavisubin may not need, however, is more determination to finish a game.
The senior right-hander threw 122 pitches, including 76 strikes, in Sehome's wild and sloppy 9-8 Northwest Conference win over host Squalicum on Monday, April 14.
When Zavisubin (3-1) finished the sixth inning, he led 9-4 and had somehow withstood six Mariners errors.
"I asked Josh, 'Do you want to finish this?' " said Sehome coach Gary Hatch. "And he said, 'Coach, I need to finish it.'"
"I told him I felt (physically) fine," said Zavisubin, who earned the first NWC victory for the young Mariners (6-6 overall, 1-3) while saddling the Storm (7-3-1, 2-1) with its first league loss.
Even so, Zavisubin - who has signed for baseball with the University of Puget Sound - was not in any mood to smile much after surviving five hits and four runs in Squalicum's seventh inning. All four of those runs were earned, but the Storm's first four runs against him were unearned.
Zavisubin gave a frank evaluation of his effort.
"It was disappointed with how I finished," he said. "I hung far too many curves. I agree with coach Hatch. I really should be throwing more fastballs."
"That's true," said Hatch. "I really want Josh to throw more fastballs."
Storm junior Kyle Little, who doubled and scored in the sixth, stroked another long double in the seventh to drive in a run following singles by Josh Holcomb and Tim Lann. Zavisubin, however, already had received great help from shortstop Jake Albert, who made an over-the-shoulder grab to open the seventh.
Squalicum junior David Stealy drove in Lann with a sacrifice fly and Ben Tripp doubled home Little.
Squalicum's No. 9 hitter, Carter Nickelson, then popped a single to center, scoring the Storm's eighth run. But Nickelson was out trying to advance to second, ending the game. Sehome's potential-laden sophomore catcher, Owen Wright, alertly recovered the ball when it was returned toward the infield and gunned a strike to Albert, who tagged out Nickelson sliding into second base.
Despite Sehome's fielding woes, the Mariners did support Zavisubin with another outstanding play besides the last-inning gems by Albert and Wright. First baseman Davis Hampton recorded an unassisted double play to end the third, leaping high to rob Storm sophomore Ernie Yake of a hit following the second hit by Landon Tripp.
For Squalicum, junior third baseman Lann ended Sehome's five-run fifth inning rally when he grabbed a pop-up on a bunt and outran a runner back to second base to double him off.
"No matter how long you've been involved with baseball," said Storm coach John Inge, who played for Hatch's freshman team in 1975 at Sehome, "you really can see something you've never seen before. Lann's play was something I had never seen."
Sehome cleanup hitter Drew Lomsdalen, a senior transfer from Burlington-Edison, has signed to pitch for Bellevue College but showed he can hit under pressure. He came through with ultimately difference-making RBI singles in the fifth and sixth innings, when the Mariners rallied from a 3-1 deficit.
"Josh competes every day," Lomsdalen said, praising Zavisubin's fortitude. "He really wants the ball. I really like being here. Coach Hatch trusts us. He's a great guy."
Remarkably, all nine starting batters for both teams contributed hits, runs or RBIs, in six cases all three. Zavisubin also drove in two runs for Sehome and Albert, Wright and Jacob Grondin joined Lomsdalen with two hits. For the Storm, Lann went 3 for 4 and Landon Tripp and Holcomb joined Little with two hits.
It was a big win for Hatch, who faces more eight league games in a 20-game span, beginning with Ferndale on Wednesday, April 16. Squalicum must play nine league games in the same tight time period, starting with Meridian.
"This is the youngest team I've ever had," said Hatch, who is in his 35th varsity season. Zavisubin, Lomsdalen and Hampton are his only seniors. Squalicum is also young, with only two seniors.
"I knew they would battle us," said Inge, whose Storm has beaten the Mariners only once in a four-season span. "Sehome has too much pride in its program not to battle. But without a doubt, it was our worst game."
Squalicum, however, already has two more wins than all of last season, so the Storm still seems more than likely to battle a bit themselves while perhaps making a strong bid for the district playoffs.
SEHOME 9, SQUALICUM 8
Sehom 010 053 0- 9 11 6
Squalicum 300 001 4- 8 11 2
WP -- Josh Zavisubin (3-1). LP -- Christian Jorgenson. Highlights -- Sehome: Gage Bull 1-5, 2 runs; Jake Albert, 2-5, 2 runs; Josh Zavisubin 1-1, 2B, 2 RBI; Drew Lomsdalen 2-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Owen Wright 2-3, 2B, RBI; Dylan Harper 1-2, RBI; Jacob Grondin 2-4; Davis Hampton RBI; Leif Anderson RBI. Squalicum: Kyle Little 2-3, 2 2Bs, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Landon Tripp 2-4; Josh Holcomb 2-4; Tim Lann 3-4, RBI; David Stealy RBI; Ben Tripp 1-4, 2B, RBI; Carter Nickelson 1-3, RBI.