BELLINGHAM — One rough inning, Mountlake Terrace’s five-run third, was all the Hawks needed to take down Port Angeles and end the Roughriders season in a 5-2 defeat in the first round of the Class 2A State Baseball Tournament at Joe Martin Field on Saturday.
A leadoff walk, followed by mistakes in covering the bag on two straight bunt singles came back to burn Port Angeles.
On the initial bunt, both pitcher Colton McGuffey and first baseman Bo Bradow charged for the ball, neither covering the first-base bag in time.
Third baseman Brody Merritt fielded the second bunt cleanly but a moment’s indecision in where to go with the ball loaded the bases.
“We outplayed them for six [innings] but we can’t have that,” coach Karl Myers said.
“A couple of tweener bunts, those are tough. we might have seen two all year and we see two in one inning where two guys go to make a play and come away empty, and it was unfortunate.”
The Hawks scored first on an RBI single through the gap between shortstop and third by Jonathan Kumai. Riders starting pitcher Colton McGuffey settled down and struck out his pitching counterpart Tanner Boe, but hit a batter with the bases loaded to score a run, allowed another runner to score on a grounder and gave up a two-out, two-RBI single to Tyson Kim before getting out of the inning.
“It’s like the [other] coaches said [to the team], they didn’t score on bunts, they scored on hits,” Myers said. “And we didn’t make enough pitches, didn’t make enough plays in that inning to get out of it.
“They executed, they got timely hits and that’s all they needed was one inning.”
Port Angeles got enough hits, nine of them, but weren’t able to bring runners home until RBI singles by Bo Bradow in the bottom of the sixth and Carson Jackson in his last at-bat as a Roughrider with two outs in the final frame.
Port Angeles stranded Ethan Flodstrom in the first inning after he rapped a two-out triple to the left-center field gap and past a diving Mountlake Terrace center fielder. The ball trickled out to the deepest part of the park 380 feet from home plate.
Milo Whitman and Tyler Bowen each reached on well-struck singles in the second and third, but both were picked off the first-base bag by the left-handed Boe, shutting down potential scoring opportunities before they could start.
Brody Merritt came on in relief and pitched four solid innings, allowing three hits, hitting a batter and striking out four. He added a powerful drive off the wall in right field — a good 330 feet from home plate — for a double with one out in the fifth, but the Riders stranded him and Bowen, who reached via a walk.
Bradow brought Flodstrom — who had a fantastic day at the plate going 3 for 3 — home with a single to centerfield in the seventh. And Jackson scored Gavin Guerrero, who had doubled down the right-field line, with a two-out single up the middle in the seventh. The rally wasn’t able to continue as Hawks’ reliever Dillon Gordon got Joel Wood to fly out to center for the final out.
The Riders ended the season at 18-5, with an Olympic League title and the program’s third consecutive trip to the state tournament.
Port Angeles will say goodbye to graduating seniors McGuffey, Jackson and Brady Shimko, while retaining the bulk of a roster dominated by sophomores like Flodstrom and Merritt and juniors like Bradow, Guerrero and Wood and Hayden Woods.
“I’m going to miss everything we’ve had together,” Jackson said. “I know deep down we all liked each other and we kept coming back to state. I know they’ll do it again next year.
“I know they are my brothers and they’ll always have my back and I’ll remember our record and all we accomplished together. Winning league, and all the comebacks we made.”
Myers praised his seniors in their last game in green and white.
“Three seniors who had a huge impact — between Colton and Shimko that’s innings on the mound and in big games,” Myers said. “We will miss Colton’s production at the plate, we will miss that for sure. And Carson was a dagger for us, he does so many things for us. We will miss them big time. More than anything we will miss their energy and what they bring to the program and the kin d of teammates they are.
And with such an experienced team likely to return in 2019, Myers said his team will look to make another trip to state.
“But we have a lot coming up, a lot of kids with two years of experience in this situation. Going to state is all those kids know, so they just need to learn not to take anything for granted.
We’ve been blessed to make it happen three years in a row, but it’s not a given. So we’ll try and keep it going.”
Mountlake Terrace 5, Port Angeles 2
MT 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 — 5 6 1
PA 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 — 2 9 1
WP: Boe LP: McGuffey
Mountlake Terrace — Boe 5IP, 5H, BB, 3K; Gordon 2IP, 2ER, 4H, 2K.
Port Angeles — McGuffey 3IP, 5R, ER, 3H, BB, 2HB, 3K; Merritt 4IP, 0R, 3H, HB, 4K.
Mountlake Terrace — Johnson 2-3, R; Yackley 1-4, R; Kumai 1-3, R, RBI; Kim 1-3, 2RBI.
Port Angeles — Flodstrom 3-3, R, 3B; Bradow 1-3, RBI; Jackson 1-4, RBI; Whitman 1-2; Merritt 1-3, 2B; Guerrero 1-3, 2B.
Evergreen Lutheran 10, Quilcene 4
CENTRALIA — Quilcene’s season came to a close as Evergreen Lutheran took advantage of Ranger errors to score five runs in the fifth inning Saturday to win 10-4 in the State 1B Baseball Tournament.
Coach Darrin Dotson said errors in the middle infield hurt the Rangers, but that otherwise Quilcene played well.
“The boys have been doing this for three-and-a-half months. They weren’t upset with how they played, just that the season is over,” Dotson said.
Evergreen Lutehran, which was a thorn in the side of Quilcene all year with three wins over the Rangers, actually had a no-hitter going through four innings. The Rangers’ Andy Johnston broke up the no-no in dramatic fashion with an inside-the-park home run.
Olin Reynolds also had a triple and scored a run. Robert Comstock III had a single, two stolen bases and scored a run on an error, while James Soderberg also scored a run.
Dotson said that Soderberg also played a great game defensively in center field, hauling in a couple of long drives.
Overall, it was a successful year for the Rangers, with a trip to state and a winning record (13-7).
“[The winning record] was a feather in the cap for us. We were the last Jefferson County baseball team still playing,” Dotson said.