Friday Harbor’s baseball team finished the 2019 season tied for fifth in Class 2B after a win and a loss in a state regional tournament Saturday, May 18 at Yelm High School.
Coach Warin talks with his pitcher and catcher. Matt Pranger photos
With only three seniors on the roster and one of their best players injured this season, the Wolverines were not expected to finish so high. “I’m proud that they got as far as they did,” said Friday Harbor coach Rich Warin.
Assistant coach Steve Schramm was impressed with the Wolverines’ progress from a squad that needed to concentrate on basics at start of the season in March. “It was a year of continued growth, improvement and becoming a TEAM, with all players — seniors to freshmen — on-board,” Schramm said. “The payoff was obvious at the end of season and continued into post-season play. On defense we had big plays that energized the team and we had a record amount of double plays along with spectacular catches and throws. The year was capped off with Small Ball and the ability to manufacture runs — proof that the team had matured and learned how to win.”
The Wolverines (15-3) jumped out early against Wahkiakum (13-9) and held on for a 5-2 victory in sweet-16 play. “We had good defense and good pitching,” Warin said.
Senior Marshall Clark struck out seven batters and scattered four hits in earning the win.
Junior Ethan Germain “made two great catches in left field,” Warin said.
Friday Harbor scored two in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice by Clark and a bases-loaded balk. Wahkiakum scored a run in the second on a single and a throwing error.
Senior Lucas Chevalier executed a perfect suicide bunt that drove in two of the Wolverines’ three runs in the second inning. Junior Ty Anderson, who reached base on an error, went home with the pitch and scored easily as a Mules’ fielder tried to swipe the ball foul as it rolled down the first baseline. The ump ruled the ball was in fair territory when touched and junior Nick Herko, who had rapped an RBI-double, alertly zipped home and slid in before the tag.
The Mules had been saving their ace in hopes of not using him until the quarterfinals but, trailing 5-1, were forced to bring in star hurler James Anderson. The senior allowed the Wolverines to reach base only twice — both walks worked by senior Yadir— during the rest of the game.
Wahkiakum scored one run in the sixth after Luke Brown tripled and scored on Ashden Niemeyer’s single. The Mules loaded the bases in the top of the seventh and Brown worked an RBI walk to cut the Wolverines’ lead 5-2. With the potential winning run at the plate, Plaza earned the save by inducing a grounder to Herko. The shortstop rocketed the ball to junior Jaden Jones at first for the final out.
Rainier (19-7) proved an 8-7 victory over Adna (17-5) was not a flukey upset: In the quarterfinal the Mountaineers used power-hitting and aggressive base running to beat the Wolverines 11-0 in five innings and to earn a final-four appearance.