Hours after Ferndale had dodged elimination with a win Tuesday over Mountlake Terrace, Kyler Schemstad sent Golden Eagles coach Donny Hennigs a text message that cemented who would start the following day.
“I texted Donny last night and said, ‘I want the ball,’” Schemstad said, “and I’m glad I did.”
The left-handed junior got his wish and threw a gem on short rest, helping Ferndale for the second straight day preserve the hope for a state berth during the consolation rounds of the Class 3A Northwest District Tournament.
Schemstad allowed one earned run on five hits in seven innings of work, helped his own cause at the plate and got plenty of backup from his teammates during a 6-1 district tournament win over Meadowdale on Wednesday, May 13, at Ferndale High School.
The win sets up a winner-to-state, loser-out matchup with Marysville-Pilchuck at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Ferndale logged 13 hits off Meadowdale starter Max Johnson and reliever Elliott Reece and truthfully should have scored more than six runs, twice coming away empty after having runners at second and third with no outs.
Connor Erickson was 3 for 4 with two runs scored, Kyler Brudwick was 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored and Schemstad went 2 for 3 with a double and three RBI.
Knowing they were playing their last home game of the year regardless of the outcome, the Golden Eagles put together a perfect game from Hennigs’ standpoint.
“It was a complete ball game,” Hennigs said. “It all started with Schemstad on the mound. We talked about it yesterday when we left, we didn’t know who was going to pitch. Schemstad said, ‘I want the ball. Give me the ball,’ and we said, ‘OK, we are going to let you go as long as you can.’”
And Schemstad worked efficiently, getting stronger as the game pressed on, only allowing one hit during the final four innings.
He received great defensive help, but no play was sweeter than when shortstop Corbin Puhan made a leaping dive to his right to stop a ground ball deep in the hole between third and short before firing to first base, where Kole Weidkamp made a beautiful pick out of the dirt to end the top of the third.
The only run Schemstad gave up came in the top of the first when Meadowdale strung together back-to-back, two-out doubles.
But the Golden Eagles responded, taking back the lead in the bottom half of the inning with a three-run, five-hit display.
Kyle Sandstrom, who went 2 for 3 with a walk, Erickson and Brudwick each hit singles to load the bases with no outs. Brady Shearer pushed one across with a fielder’s choice followed by RBI singles from Schemstad and Weidkamp to give Ferndale a 3-1 advantage.
“We just picked him up early, and I think we got in his head early, and we were able to produce hits,” said Schemstad of Johnson. “We finally, finally got our bats going again. It was really cool.”
Brudwick drove in Sandstrom with an infield single in the second to push the Golden Eagles’ lead to 4-1, and that was more than enough for Schemstad, although the pitcher drove in two more runs with a double in the sixth to give Ferndale’s lead extra padding.
The junior retired nine straight during the second, third, fourth and fifth and then set down Meadowdale’s final seven hitters in order.
“He seems to get better as the game goes on,” said Hennigs of Schemstad. “Today I felt he had his good stuff. I’m so proud of him today and the way he battled for us and gave us a chance to play another game.”
Ferndale 6, Meadowdale 1