By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
CHIMACUM — The Chimacum baseball team gave out two gifts to head coach Bob Eldridge — a 6-hit, 13-strikeout performance in a 2-1 loser-out pigtail playoff victory over Seattle Christian on Saturday and a neatly framed photo of Eldridge and his family, including his youngest son, Cowboys’ left-fielder Koby Eldridge, delivered during the postgame celebration.
Chimacum pitchers Issac Purser and Cole Dotson were in control throughout, combining to strike out 13 of 21 possible Seattle Christian batters to keep the Cowboys’ season alive. The game moved quickly, wrapping up in just over 90 minutes.
“That’s one thing I’ve got is two really good pitchers,” Chimacum coach Bob Eldridge said after the game.
Purser picked up the win, striking out 10 batters in an efficient 75-pitch performance, scattering five hits across 5 and one third ininngs and allowing one unearned run. He also went 2 for 3 at the plate with a stolen base.
He’ll be eligible to pitch Tuesday when Chimacum plays Bellevue Christian at 4 p.m. in the double-elimination West Central District Tournament at Charles Wright Academy in University Place.
Purser continually fooled Warriors’ hitters in Saturday’s game, changing speeds and mixing in his curveball to send Seattle Christian players back to the dugout.
“Issac is very smart with the way he pitches the ball,” Eldridge said. “He works so fast and mixes it up so well and keeps them off-balance. He’s pitched great all year and so has Cole.”
Purser said he was able to use his off-speed stuff to get strikeouts.
“Curve ball was working for me,” he said. “My off-speed pitch is what I use to be a good pitcher. I mixed it up and they all chased after high pitches, so that’s what I was throwing when I was ahead.”
Purser also credited the defensive effort from his teammates, including catcher Jonah Diehl throwing out a runner trying to steal second and a nifty nab of a hard-hit grounder to third baseman Matt Bainbridge, in the win.
“It was all effort from our team,” Purser said. “That’s what we talked about before the game, playing with more effort and we were able to do that.”
Chimacum scored both of its runs with two outs in the bottom of the first on a pair of errors by the Warriors.
Bainbridge reached base on an infield single and hustled around from first to home when the throw on Cody Clark’s grounder to shortstop went wide of first base.
Carson McConnell followed with an infield single and Aaron Serrato reached on an error that brought home Clark with the eventual winning run.
Purser and Seattle Christian pitcher Nolen Stevenson each cruised from there, with neither pitcher allowing a run.
Dotson came on in relief of Purser in the sixth and closed out the inning with two strikeouts.
“It doesn’t matter who starts the game, really, because the other will come on and shut the door,” Eldridge said.
That’s exactly what Dotson did to close out the game, striking out three in 1 and 2/3rds, allowing one hit and walking one to preserve Purser’s performance and pick up the save.
Purser was Dotson’s loudest supporter in the final inning, cheering him on from shortstop as his teammate finished up the pitching gem.
“He and I are both basically both No. 1 pitchers, we can both get it done, so we just switched it up,” Purser said.
And the Cowboys (10-8) live to play for at least two more games.
Chimacum 2, Seattle Christian 1
SC 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 6 5
Chim. 2 0 0 0 0 0 x — 2 5 1
WP: Purser LP: N. Stevenson SV: Dotson
SC — N. Stevenson 6IP, 2R, 5H, 0BB, 3K.
Chimacum — Purser 5.1IP, R, 5H, 0BB, 10K; Dotson 1.2IP, 0R, H, BB, 3K.
SC — Sichmeller 1-2, BB; Howell 1-3, RBI; Clute 1-3.
Chimacum — Purser 2-3, SB; Bainbridge 1-3, R; McConnell 1-3; Serrato 0-1, ROE; Clark 1-2, ROE, R.