ANACORTES With every fifth inning Archbishop Murphy hit, Bellingham was painfully subjected to watching its bid for an opening-round Class 2A District Tournament win fade from reality.
The Red Raiders were still within striking distance heading into the bottom of the fifth, trailing 3-0, but the Wildcats opened the half inning with sixth straight hits off Bellingham starter Brad Johnson, including a three-run homer over the left-field wall, to pull away.
Bellingham couldn’t come back, especially against Archbishop Murphy starter Connor Sand, and took a 8-0 loss Saturday, May 9, at Volunteer Field in Anacortes.
“It’s tough,” Red Raiders’ Nate Pearsall said. “They really did string some hits together, and you just have to keep your head up. You just got to know, ‘The ball’s got to come to me sometime and we got to get an out.’”
The loss sends Bellingham to a consolation round elimination game against Squalicum at 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, at Volunteer Field in Anacortes.
Back-to-back fifth-inning singles followed by a home run off the bat of Archbishop Murphy’s Austin Earl and then three straight base hits was hard to fathom, but what crushed the Red Raiders most, coach David Farrell felt, was an inning-extending error during the bottom of the fourth that led to two additional Wildcat runs.
Bellingham trailed 1-0 in the fourth with a runner on second when Archbishop’s Curtis Ponton hit a grounder to third baseman Charlie Carmicheal, who sailed a throw over the first baseman’s head out of play.
The runner scored from second, Ponton was awarded second on the overthrow and the next batter, Cameron Nix, drove a ball through the left side of the infield to score Ponton, giving the Wildcats a 3-0 edge.
“Something that we didn’t do well today, which we really pride ourselves on, we didn’t play the greatest defense,” Farrell said. “We had two throwing errors. One of them ended up resulting in a couple of runs. That was tough. The attitude changed in the dugout a little but.”
Scoring opportunities eluded the Red Raiders most of the day. Owen Jewell, Alex Richard and Pearsall where the only Bellingham batters in the hit column.
Twice Bellingham had runners at second with one out. Richard drilled a double over the center fielder’s head in the third, but was doubled off on a hit-and-run.
Pearsall hit a double in the fourth just beyond the reach of the left-fielder’s glove, but he was ruled out trying tag up and reach third on a Carmicheal fly out to right after he was deemed to have left the bag too early.
Bellingham walked twice, but never got a hit off Sand the rest of the way. The Archbishop Murphy starter went the distance, only struck out one but induced myriad ground-ball outs.
“The pitcher, he was on,” Pearsall said. “He was locating well. He was changing his speeds really well and bats just weren’t there. Really, focus was there, we just got to have a better approach at the plate.”
Sehome 12, Cedarcrest 6
When a Mariner receives a Sehome trademark Eskimo toss postgame, that’s good news for the Mariners. When three players get sent flying through the air, something special must have happened.
Leif Anderson, Gage Bull and Cameron Tipton each had their turn getting tossed by the team, and each one played an integral part in helping Sehome earn a 12-6 Class 2A District Tournament opening-round win over Cedarcrest on Saturday, May 9, at Daniels Field in Anacortes.
The win sends the Mariners to a district semifinal game against Anacortes at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, at Volunteer Field.
Sehome took advantage of Cedarcrest starting pitcher Andrew Willmon’s issues locating and applied pressure on the Red Wolves’ defense in the third inning, as the Mariners batted around to push eight runs across.
“You don’t get those very often,” Sehome coach Gary Hatch said, “like bananas, in bunches like that. It just doesn’t happen very often. Our guys, we have to grind away for our runs. We don’t bang walls down like they did for a while. But there is a pressure game, and our pressure game was working for us.”
The Mariners showed their patience by taking three walks in the eight-run third, Kealohi Grondin was hit by a pitch, Sehome laid down some textbook bunts and Tipton provided a timely run-scoring hit.
“All of a sudden, boom, there’s six runs,” Hatch said. “Then, boom, all of a sudden there is eight runs. Gage Bull scored twice in an inning. We haven’t had that happen in years. We just got it going.”
Jake Albert started the game but was relieved by Anderson in the third after Cedarcrest strung some hits together to trim Sehome’s lead to 8-5.
Once Anderson came in, the Red Wolves had no answer for the senior left-hander’s change-up and fastball location.
Anderson only gave up two hits in the game’s remaining 3 1/3 innings.
“Pitching-wise, he has that ability to sense hitters and how to pitch to outs and how to make the bat speed up and how to slow it down,” Hatch said. “He just took the air out of their bats. He just flat out took the air out of their bats.”
Tipton finished 3 for 4 and Bull and Albert each logged a pair of hits.
Burlington-Edison 4, Squalicum 0
The Storm’s chances against Burlington-Edison ace Drew Larson were sparse, and after seven innings of opening round Class 2A District Tournament baseball, Squalicum coach John Inge was left shaking his head.
“I don’t think we came ready to compete today,” Inge said. “I was really disappointed in our effort. I really was. Missing execution, not good approaches at the plate.”
And with Larson dealing like he was, the Storm’s margin for error was razor thin.
Larson, a hard-throwing right-hander with a nasty breaking ball to match, struck out 12 Squalicum batters in seven innings of work, and the Storm suffered a 4-0 loss Saturday, May 9, at Volunteer Field in Anacortes.
Next Squalicum faces Bellingham in a consolation round elimination game at 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, at Volunteer Field.
Even with Larson’s dominance, though, Squalicum had a pair of scoring chances in the fifth and sixth.
The Storm’s Tim Lann drew a fifth-inning walk, snapping a streak of 13 straight batters retired, and Josh Holcomb followed with Squalicum’s first hit of the game, a hard liner back up the middle.
Ben Tripp then walked to load the bases with one out, sending Connor Sage to the plate as the Storm trailed 2-0. Midway through the at-bat Sage attempted a bunt on a suicide squeeze but missed, costing the Storm a major opportunity.
“I thought we had a perfect timing on the break from third,” Inge said. “Connor is our best bunter. I bet we could run that 100 times, and he’s going to make that bunt 98 times. ... I was basically stunned he missed it, because he is such a phenomenal bunter.”
Squalicum squandered a second scoring chance in the top of the sixth when Carter Nickelson followed an Ernie Yake walk with a base hit into right. But with one out, the Storm’s No. 3 hitter, Kyle Little, struck out looking, which was followed by David Stealy grounding out.
The two hits by Holcomb and Nickelson were Squalicum’s only ones, while Burlington-Edison added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Reach Andrew Lang at 360-756-2862 or andrew.lang@
Archbishop Murphy 8, Bellingham 0
WP: Connor Sand. LP: Brad Johnson. Highlights: Archbishop Murphy: Austin Earl 1-3, HR, 3 RBI, R; JT Burtsche 2-4, RBI, R; Joe Damitio 2-3, 2 R. Bellingham: Nate Pearsall 1-3, 2B; Alex Richard 1-2, 2B; Owen Jewell 1-2, BB.
Burlington-Edison 4, Squalicum 0
WP: Drew Larson. LP: David Stealy. Highlights: Burlington-Edison: JP Sullivan 2-3, 2B, RBI; Mason Schwetz 1-3, RBI, R; Derek Cherryholmes 1-3, 2B, 2 R. Squalicum: Josh Holcomb 1-2, BB; Carter Nickelson 1-3.
Sehome 12, Cedarcrest 6
WP: Jake Albert. LP: Andrew Willmon. Highlights: Cedarcrest: N/A. Sehome: Cameron Tipton 3-4, 3 RBI, R; Jake Albert 2-3, BB, 2 R; Gage Bull 2-2, 2 BB, 2B, RBI, 3 R.