Outstanding pitching from both teams made for a fast game, but a season-end loss for Bellingham’s Post 7 as they were eliminated 2-0 by the Spokane Bandits at the 2015 American Legion Baseball AAA State Tournament at Joe Martin Field
"We had a pretty successful season,” Post 7 coach Steve Slesk said. “Our goal was to win state, and I still think we are good enough to do it, but that's baseball."
Post 7 had some hope in the ninth inning as Ernie Yake was on second base but Jordan Wittenberg committed the final out.
Kyler Shemstad pitched all nine innings for Bellingham, as did Griffin Davis for the Spokane Bandits. Davis pitched all nine inning for a shutout after pitching the entire game on Friday against Bellingham as well.
Shemstad gave up only two runs in eight innings, an effort that would have been enough in most games.
"He was outstanding, he pitched his butt off for us today,” Slesk said. “He threw a great game, we just didn't swing it for him.”
Bellingham’s offense simply could not step up against Davis and his spot-on pitching.
“We just came up short today,” Shemstad said. “Our bats have really been hot all season but today they just weren’t there.”
It was the little mistakes that cost them the game.
"Little things, and it cost us the last game, too,” Slesk said. “When you’re at this level, it's the little things you've got to look at and last night or today we just didn't.”
Dalton Ohligschlager went 1 for 2 with a double at the top of the sixth. Kyler Brudwick and Kyle Little each went 1 for 3. All but one pitcher for Spokane got at least one hit.
It was a successful season for Bellingham.
Post 7 won the title at the Spokane American Legion Wood Bat Classic for the first time and won 40 games overall, something not a lot of teams at this level can boast, said Slesk as a reminder that one game does not need to define a season, even if it was the last.
“Everybody looks at right now, and that isn't a good feeling for anybody,” Slesk said. “Everyone looks at that as the whole season but it's not. We had a lot of success this summer.”
Members of Bellingham’s 2015 Post 7 team will be remembered for their contributions, as teammates and hard-working athletes.
A good season, made better by playing alongside a great group of guys, ended too soon, Shemstad said.
“It was a really good experience,” he said. “I love all the guys on this team, its a good group. I am privileged to be on this team."
The state championship will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, at Joe Martin Field. The winner and runner-up will then go on to the Region 7 Regional Tournament in Cheyenne, Wyo.
American Senior Legion Baseball
At Joe Martin Field
Championship: Spokane Bandits vs. TBD, 1 p.m.