Kyler Schemstad welcomed a little “shock and awe” in the best performance of the Ferndale junior’s pitching career.
Schemstad readily acknowledged he had never thrown more efficiently or effectively than he did in unbeaten Ferndale’s 3-1 Northwest Conference baseball win over Bellingham on Monday, March 30.
“I’m still in shock; I’m still in awe,” Schemstad (2-0) said of his 64 pitch gem, including 43 strikes. He had only one strikeout, but he walked none and threw poised strikes in the two innings in which the Red Raiders had two men on base and two outs.
“I couldn’t do it without my defense,” said Schemstad, who went 2-1 in limited opportunities as a sophomore. “I knew they wouldn’t let me down.”
The poised right-hander faced 26 hitters, meaning he averaged fewer than three pitches per hitter. No wonder the game lasted only a little more than one hour.
Schemstad limited Bellingham (1-6 overall, 1-1 NWC) to four hits. But the Red Raiders did not look like a 1-6 team as senior left-hander Brad Johnson held the Golden Eagles (6-0, 2-0) to four hits.
Brady Shearer had Ferndale’s only hit in the first three innings, but the Golden Eagles put together three hits in the fourth and scored three unearned runs to spoil a solid effort by the hard-throwing Johnson.
“Bellingham (is good enough and) will break through some time. I was just hoping it wouldn’t be against us,” Schemstad said.
Kyler Brudwick led off Ferndale’s fourth with a single and Schemstad was safe on an infield error. Kole Weidkamp laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt on which Bellingham third baseman Charlie Carmichael made an outstanding scoop play.
With two outs — the inning should have been over, since there had been the error on Schemstad‘s grounder — Brudwick scored on a passed ball. Ian Barnes drove home Schemstad with a single and Barnes went to second on an outfield error on the play. Nate Carlson then doubled home Barnes.
Schemstad retired the final 10 Bellingham hitters after allowing an unearned run in the fourth.
Bellingham’s Nate Pearsall hit a solid single to right and Carmichael followed with a shot down the left-field line. A two-out infield error allowed Pearsall to score, but Schemstad calmly got the last out.
“Kyler’s an even-keel kind of kid,” Ferndale coach Donny Hennigs said. “You never know how he’s feeling out there, and that can be a good thing for him. I’m not surprised (by his aggressive pitching), but I didn’t expect it to be 64 pitches. But we’re playing good defense.”
Schemstad displayed his even-keel nature by getting the last out of the second inning on a fly ball after Bellingham’s Bobby Cooke and Will Woods singled with two outs.
The Red Raiders turned in several fielding gems, including a play by Carmichael at third to steal a hit in the fifth. Bellingham center fielder Cooke then caught a fly and threw out Brudwick at home plate on a fine tag by catcher Dante Check, who earlier threw out a runner at second to end the third inning.
Raiders shortstop Austin Shenton denied Ferndale a possible fourth run when he ended the sixth inning by moving well to his right and snagging a line drive by Barnes.
It has been a truly tough start for the Raiders, who started seven seniors against Ferndale, and coach David Farrell.
“We’ve got a lot of older kids and everybody’s pretty frustrated now,” said Farrell, who has seen the Raiders limited to 15 runs in their first seven games. “Our pitching’s been there, but our hitting hasn’t. We just have to keep swinging.”
Ferndale’s pitching has been consistently strong. The Golden Eagles have surrendered just 13 runs in their first six games.
“We were happy to see Bellingham early,” Hennigs said. “It’s only a matter of time before that lineup gets going.”
Ferndale next welcomes Lynden and Bellingham plays at Mount Baker, both on Tuesday, March 31.
Ferndale 3, Bellingham 1
WP: Kyler Schemstad (2-0). LP: Brad Johnson. Highlights: Bellingham: Nate Pearsall 1-3, run; Charlie Carmichael 1-3; Bobby Cooke 1-3; Will Woods 1-3. Ferndale: Kyler Brudwick 1-3, run; Brady Shearer 1-2; Ian Barnes 1-3, RBI; Nate Carlson 2B, 1-2, RBI.