SEQUIM — Port Angeles starter Brody Merritt went six strong innings, scattering three hits while striking out seven as the Roughriders won 7-1 Friday to sweep the season series with rival Sequim.
“He had some good stuff,” Port Angeles coach Karl Myers said. “That was the best we’ve seen him all season. He was throwing strikes, pitching with confidence. It was good to see that before the playoffs.”
After seeing Riders’ pitchers Hayden Woods and now Merritt pitch deep into games in wins over his team this season, Sequim coach Dave Ditlefsen made a good point.
“They don’t run out of quality pitching over there,” Ditlefsen said of Port Angeles.
“Merritt has been incredible on the hill for three years against us.
“I liked a lot of the at-bats we had, I thought we had some quality at-bats and made him work.”
Merritt was backed up by a productive day at the plate from his teammates.
Ethan Flodstrom was 2 for 3 with two runs, a double and three RBIs.
Bo Bradow went 3 for 4 with a double and drove in three runs.
“They both had really good games,” Myers said of Flodstrom and Bradow. “I thought Wyatt Hall hit three balls really hard and got a hustle double in the sixth.”
Tyler Bowen tripled and scored as well for the Riders and Jake Felton went 1 for 2 with a walk and an RBI.
“We did a good job of adjusting to the pace of the ball, taking what they gave us and not try to create something that wasn’t there,” Myers said of his hitters.
“[Silas Thomas] is a tough little pitcher, his breaking ball is slower but it turns over decently and he throws it where he wants to it go.
“We started a little jumpy, trying to swing at pitches that weren’t necessarily there, but we got more disciplined, more patient, and started squaring balls up.”
Hayden Woods returned from an injury and pitched a clean seventh inning to seal the win for the Riders.
“We were cautious and patient with him getting back and we turned him loose yesterday,” Myers said.
“Anytime you can bring in an arm like that out of the bullpen you are in good shape. We will work on getting him back to starting games.”
Myers said the Riders played some pretty solid defense in a steady wind on a field that absorbed some rain earlier Friday.
He pointed to the play of Gavin Guerrero at shortstop.
“Gavin had a phenomenal game and made four or five plays on ground balls with how the field was playing that were really high level,” Myers said. “He was attacking the ball when he needed to and sitting back when he needed to. He’s been defending at a really high level all season.”
First-place Port Angeles (8-0, 12-3) hosts Bremerton on Monday.
Sequim (4-5, 8-7) is tied with Olympic (4-5, 6-9) for the fourth and final district playoff berth, but did win in the first matchup between the teams.
The Wolves will look to rebound after a tough week against the top three teams in league play.
“We could have circled this week before the season started,” Ditlefsen said. “We knew this would be a tough one. “We faced all three best teams and our pitchers kept us in the games all week. They played tough. We finish with all three lower teams [in the standings], so hopefully we grab that district spot because I know we will battle-tested at the district level.”
Sequim, Port Angeles
PA 0 0 2 1 1 0 3 — 7 10 1
SEQ 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 3 1
WP: Merritt LP: Thomas
Port Angeles — Merritt 6IP, 3H, R, 7K; Woods IP, K.
Sequim — Thomas 5IP, 7H, 4ER, 2K; Oliver 2IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, BB.
Port Angeles — Flodstrom 2-3, 2R, 2B, 3RBI; B. Bradow 3-4, SB, 3RBI; Felton 1-2, BB, RBI; Guerrero 1-3, R, SB; Whitman 1-4, 2R; Hall 1-3, R, 2B; Bowen 1-4, R, 3B.
Sequim — Grubb 1-3, R; J. Young 1-3; Oliver 1-3.
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or at [email protected]