After Lynden Christian earned its first winning baseball season in 14 years, second-year coach Daniel Vander Kooi wasn’t about to be discouraged by a lopsided loss to an NCAA Division I scholarship pitcher.
Cedar Park Christian’s Michael Attalah -- who confirmed he has signed with powerhouse Oregon State -- enjoyed the privilege of pitching the Eagles’ school-record 20th victory, a 13-0 two-hitter over the Lyncs (12-10) in the semifinals of the Class 1A Northwest Bi-District Tournament on Monday at Joe Marvin Field.
“Absolutely, we can do it,” said Vander Kooi of the two wins the Lyncs (12-10) need to qualify for the state regionals. That would be a huge step for his program, especially considering that much-improved LC was 5-17 last year.
“We didn’t play well today, but we still control our own destiny,” said Vander Kooi, whose team came in with 141 runs scored and 132 allowed. “Our guys have our first winning season since 2003.”
Never miss a local story.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Lyncs (second seed from the Northwest Conference) will play in the loser-out consolation semifinals Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Sehome High against South Whidbey (second seed from the Cascade Conference). South Whidbey eliminated Sultan 4-3.
The winner will play Saturday at 3 p.m. at Sehome against the survivor of the loser-out consolation semifinal matching Meridian and Bush, which eliminated third-seeded Nooksack Valley 1-0 on Monday despite stubborn pitching by sophomore Evan Neitling for the Pioneers.
Top-seeded Meridian (11-11), a 15-2 loser to Overlake-Bear Creek in the other semifinal, will face Bush (a second seed from District 2) at 12:30 Saturday at Joe Martin.
Since only one team can qualify for state out of the consolation bracket, either the Lyncs or Trojans will see their season end Saturday.
Top-seeded Cedar Park Christian (20-2), co-champion with Class 2A Archbishop Murphy in the Cascade Conference, will play for the bi-district title at 3 p.m. at Joe Martin against also top-seeded Overlake-Bear Creek (19-2), which beat Meridian 15-2 in the other semifinal. Cedar Park and Overlake have clinched state regional berths.
ATTALAH TOO TOUGH
Attalah, a flexible 6-foot-2 right-hander who throws fastballs and breaking stuff with equal precision, showed why he was recruited by several Division I schools.
“I felt relaxed,” said Attalah, who needed 78 pitches in 4½ innings to stifle the Lyncs via the mercy rule. LC‘s only hits were a leadoff double by Colby Flint in the first inning and Flint’s single in the third.
Attalah struck out seven and walked two.
“It really feels awesome to sign with Oregon State,” Attalah said of his chance to pitch Pacific-12 Conference ball against teams like Washington at Husky Ballpark, where Attalah gained his early inspiration.
CEDAR PARK HITS
Cedar Park had nine hits and did not strike out until its last batter whiffed.
An RBI double by Luke Lampe and a two-run double by cleanup batter Zach Kokos during a six-run first inning against LC sophomore standout Payton Robertson were all the Eagles needed.
Attalah, the No. 3 hitter, went 3 for 3 and looked just as talented at bat as he did on the mound.
“I signed as a pitcher,” he said, “but I’d love to get chances as a hitter.”