Strong pitching ends Lynden's season in first round of state

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 24, 2014 

YELM — Lynden’s postseason dominance over Sumner couldn’t last forever, and the Spartans made sure it ended this spring.

Six straight state-tournament meetings during the past three years in football (twice), basketball (three times) and baseball (once), Lynden ended Sumner’s season.

In fact, the Lions ousted the Spartans four of the past five sports seasons. Only last spring Lynden didn’t face Sumner at state, but Spartans senior starting pitcher Christian Parsons ensured the Puyallup-area school moved past its fellow Class 2A power Achilles heel.

The Lions couldn’t get their offense going against Parsons, a 5-foot-6 hard-throwing righty, and the two times Lynden got something brewing, Sumner left fielder Gage Whitehead threw out Lynden baserunners.

Lynden starting pitcher Kody Ames did what he needed to do on the mound to keep his club in the game until the end, but it wasn’t enough as the Lions suffered a 3-0 Class 2A State Tournament opening-round loss to Sumner Saturday, May 24, at Yelm High School, ending their season.

“Those are the special kind of kids you don’t see all the time, and when you run across them, it’s hard to duplicate that on a day in and day out basis,” Lynden coach Cory White said of Parsons. “He had a live fastball, controls his offspeed very well, but it’s a hard-breaking pitch. … He did a nice job, so I tip my cap to him cause he pitched extremely well today.”

Parsons gave up four hits, struck out six, didn’t give up a walk and only pitched to 23 batters in the seven-inning game. He had a perfect game going through 3 2/3 innings, but even when the Lions found a glimmer of hope, Sumner quickly ended it.

Lynden finally broke through at the plate when Lucas Petersen connected on an offspeed pitch with two outs in the fourth, hitting a hard liner down the left-field line. He tried to stretch his single into a double, but Whitehead threw him out at second with a strong throw from the outfield.

Whitehead again showed off his arm in the top of the sixth with two outs.

Lions left fielder Jordan Corbin reached base on an infield single and advanced to second on a wide throw at first base. Jordan Wittenberg followed with a single to left field. Corbin got the wave home from White in the third-base coaching box, but again Whitehead ended the inning, throwing a laser to catcher Bryan Adkins, who easily applied the tag to Corbin.

“We’ve played aggressive all year on the bases,” White said. “You got to create opportunities that way, and the way we look at it was, we weren’t getting base hit after base hit, so we had to try to get aggressive. … We needed to score. I’d rather be thrown out at home rather than sitting at third without getting anything.”

In a tightly-played ball game, the Whitehead’s two throws were deflating. Lynden senior right fielder Cameron Wainwright said they made him feel helpless.

“It’s more or less you try to compete all year, you work at it and the other team just beats you,” he said.

Coming off his best performance of the season, White said Ames pitched another strong game. Lynden just didn’t provide run support.

Sumner entered state averaging 9.6 runs per game, and Ames limited the Spartans to two earned runs on four hits. He struck out one and walked four, but the two innings he got into trouble ended up costing him.

“I had that one kind of shaky inning in the second,” Ames said. “They got the two runs to put them up, and we just didn’t have the bats behind us this game.”

Sumner strung three of its four hits together in the second inning and took advantage of Lynden’s only error. Designated hitter Johnny Staley drove in a run with a single through the left side of the infield, and Adkins followed with a sac fly to right field, giving Sumner an early 2-0 advantage.

Ames then retired nine of the next 10 hitters he faced before walking a run in with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth to extend the Spartans’ lead to 3-0.

Lynden third baseman Dalton Ohligschlager hit a two-out single into left field to give the Lions some hope in the top of the seventh, but Wainwright flew out to center to end the game.

Despite the loss, White praised his players after the game for a hard-fought performance and a strong season resulting in the Lions’ third consecutive state trip.

Ames said his team defied odds.

“Our program has had a lot of success in the past few years and going into the season we weren’t really expected to do too much losing all those players,” Ames said. “Just to make it this far and prove a lot of people wrong was huge, something I’ll remember.”

The loss ended the careers of seven Lynden seniors: Ames, Wainwright, Corbin, Christian Mouat, Tristan Blaske, Austen Urban and Tyler Stokes.

Reach Andrew Lang at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.

SUMNER 3, LYNDEN 0

Lynden 000 000 0 — 0 4 1

Sumner 020 001 x — 3 4 1

WP: Christian Parsons. LP: Kody Ames (6-3). Highlights: LYN — Jordan Wittenberg 1-3; Lucas Petersen 1-3, Dalton Ohligschlager 1-3; Jordan Corbin 1-2. SUM — Nathan Harrell 2-3, 2B, R; Gage Whitehead 1-2, R, BB, RBI, SB; Johnny Staley 1-3, RBI, SB.

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