PORT ANGELES — After getting rocked for four hits and two runs in the opening inning, Port Angeles’ Brady Shimko settled down the rest of the way, shutting down the Sequim lineup as the Roughriders rallied to win a Rainshadow Rumble rivalry baseball game 6-2 under the lights on a chilly night at Civic Field.
Shimko only gave up one hit, one walk and no runs after a rough first inning in Wednesday’s game. He gave way to Brody Merritt, who was absolutely lights-out, striking out six over the final three innings to earn the victory.
Port Angeles coach Karl Myers said Shimko was up in the strike zone in that first inning. But, he bore down afterward.
“I was happy with how he locked in and made pitches [after the first inning],” Myers said.
Shimko said it was a matter of completing his delivery.
“I started finishing my pitches. I just got in my zone and competed. I let my defense do their jobs,” said Shimko.
Sequim’s Johnnie Young pitched well in defeat, going five innings and giving up seven hits while striking out five. Most of those hits were bloops and slow infield grounders as only a couple of Roughriders actually hit the ball hard against Young. But, Port Angeles was aggressive and smart on the basepaths and effectively manufactured runs in a big four-run fifth inning,
“I was proud of how our kids played,” said Sequim coach Dave Ditlefsen.”I give a lot of credit to [Johnnie Young]. Port Angeles is a talented team, we knew they’d get their hits eventually.”
Myers said Young did enough to lift the Wolves.
“Johnnie pitched well enough to win,” Myers said. He gave credit to his players for not panicking when they fell behind 2-0 after the first inning and finding ways to score when Young was keeping them off-balance.
“We just chipped away. It’s a testament to just grinding out [at-bats],” Myers said. “You could visibly see our kids start to relax.”
The win keeps the Riders (3-1, 6-1) in second place in the Olympic League 2A Division behind North Kitsap (4-0, 5-1). The Wolves (0-4, 3-5) are still looking for their first league win.
“We have an uphill battle in this league. We just have to take care of ourselves and get better every day,” Ditlefson said.
Sequim jumped all over Shimko in the first inning. Michael Young led off with a single, but was doubled up on a line drive by Joey Oliver. Ian Miller then hit a single and Johnnie Young belted a deep double to score Miller. Michael Grubb brought pinch runner Kyler Rollness home with an RBI single. Cameron Welcher followed with a single, but Shimko was able to limit the damage to two runs by getting Ryan Clark to fly out.
The Roughriders responded with a run in the bottom of the first. Carson Jackson, who was 2 for 3 on the day, led off with a bloop single. Joel Wood hit a single, sending Jackson to third. Then, with Ethan Flodstrom at the plate, Wood got into a rundown between first and second on an attempted steal and Jackson was able to scamper home from third.
After that, the game settled down into a pitchers’ duel. In the bottom of the third inning, Johnnie Young hit the first two batters, Jackson and Wood. Then, Sequim made on error at first base when a toss to the bag was dropped on a slow grounder by Bo Bradow. Jackson tried to score from second base, but Sequim catcher Clark made a perfect tag at the plate to prevent the run and to keep the Wolves ahead.
The Riders were able to break through for a run in the fourth. Colton McGuffey hit a blooper to left, then put it in overdrive rounding first base and legged out the throw from the outfield for a heads-up double. Hayden Woods bunted McGuffey to third and he came in to score, making it 2-2 on a slow groundout to second base by Gavin Guerrero.
Merritt came in in the fifth, gave up a walk and a stolen base to Oliver, but also struck out three batters, two on breaking balls that froze Sequim hitters. Port Angeles broke through with four runs in the fifth, yet did not have a hard hit in the inning.
Jackson led off with a push bunt for a hit. He stole second and Flodstrom walked. Bradow fought off a pitch for a slow nubber to the right side that went for an infield single. Jackson scored on a grounder by Milo Whitman, McGuffey then hit a shallow fly ball that fell in, scoring Flodstrom. Guerrero, who ended up with three RBIs on the day, then hit a bad-hop single through the infield to drive in two runs to make it 6-2.
Johnnie Young hit a leadoff double for Sequim in the sixth, but Merritt got a strikeout, groundout and fly ball to snuff any ideas of a Wolves rally. He struck out two more batters in the seventh to finish the game off.
McGuffey ended the game 2 for 2 with his manufactured double. Jackson scored two runs. For Sequim, Johnnie Young was 2 for 3 with two doubles and an RBI.
Port Angeles (3-1, 6-1) sits alone in second place in league now. The Riders next play at North Mason at 4:15 p.m. Friday. Sequim (0-4, 3-5) played Kingston today after press deadline. The Wolves next play at home against Bremerton on April 11.
Port Angeles 6, Sequim 2
SEQ 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 2 7 4
PA 1 0 0 1 4 0 X— 6 5 1
WP: Merritt LP: J. Young
Sequim — J. Young 5 IP, 4H, 6R, 2ER, 2BB, 2HB, 5K; Oliver IP, HB, H.
Port Angeles — Shimko 4IP, 5H, 2ER, BB, 3K; Merritt 3IP, 2H, BB, 6K.
Sequim — J. Young 2-3, 2 2B, RBI; M. Grubb 1-3, RBI; Miller 1-3, R;
Port Angeles — McGuffey 2-2, R,2B, RBI; Jackson 1-3,HBP, 2R, 2SB; Flodstrom 1-3, BB, R; Bradow 1-3, SB, R
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]