By Pierre LaBossiere
Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — In a game that began in a dreary drizzle and ended 24 hours later as fans were soaked by sunshine, the Port Angeles Lefties pulled out a 3-1 win with a Kyle Schimpf two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth.
With Schimpf’s big home run and the win, the Lefties are all alone in first place the West Coast League’s North Division at 5-2.
“It felt good off the bat,” Schimpf said about his home run. “I was struggling yesterday [o for 3 before the home run], it felt great.”
The game started Friday in wet conditions that just got steadily worse in the later innings. Tied 1-1, the contest was suspended with no outs in the bottom of the seventh with Lefties’ slugger Dalton Harum at the plate leading off the inning.
The Lefties, who muscled up all over the Bend Elks on their road trip to Oregon, scoring 34 runs in three straight wins, got outstanding pitching in this one from the duo of Garrett Westberg (Tacoma Community College) and sidearmer Triston Busse (Western Texas College). The game already featured 21 total strikeouts between the two teams.
Westberg went the first four innings, giving up four hits and one earned run, while striking out three and walking three. Busse was even more impressive, going five innings with two hits and one walk, while striking out six. Busse picked up the win.
Westberg and Busse stacked up pitch-for-pitch against Bellingham’s Justin Armbruester, who went six innings, giving up two hits and one earned run, while striking out 10. He was replaced by Trevor Delaite, who threw two balls to Harum before the game was suspended because the mound was too wet. Trevor Williams pitched the final two innings for Bellingham and took the loss.
Lefties manager Darren Westergard said Westberg drove to Port Angeles by himself Friday before taking the starting mound and had an outstanding performance considering how little preparation he had. Westergard said Busse has been great so far in the early going for the Lefties.
“He’s tough to hit. He’s been reliable,” Westergard said.
The game started in a light drizzle, which became a medium drizzle by the fourth inning and a downright downpour by the seventh as most of the fans made their way to the main grandstands at Civic Field in order to stay dry.
As a testament to this being a small-town baseball atmosphere, players were sent to the equipment room to fetch sawdust between innings to try and keep the infield playable.
The crowd was not bad for such wet conditions. While the open parts of the stands were nearly empty by the seventh, the stands in the main grandstands were fairly packed as people moved under the roof to stay dry.
Lefties Owner Matt Acker said the game was going great, with the two teams leading the North Division facing off in a solid pitchers’ duel. The empty seats were sold, some people just didn’t come out because of the rain.
“The weather’s not great great but you have to look at the bright side,” Acker said.
Both runs were scored in the third inning.
Bellingham scored when Griffin McCormick got a single, went to second on a walk to Guthrie Morrison and came home to score on a single by Ernie Yake. It could have been much worse, however. With two runners already on base, Westberg walked another batter, but he induced Cole Joy to hit a popup to get out of the based-loaded jam.
Port Angeles got their run via good baserunning by Brady Heid (Paradise Valley). Heid beat out a slow ground ball for a single, then stole second base. Trevor Rosenberg (University of San Diego) fought off a pitch to knock a single to shallow right field, scoring the speedy Heid all the way from second base as Heid never hesitated rounding third base.