Vashon baseball takes two games, loses one

Wes Paulsen throws a pitch during Friday’s game. - Sy Bean photo
Wes Paulsen throws a pitch during Friday’s game.
— image credit: Sy Bean photo

The Vashon High School varsity baseball team played a trio of games last week, winning two by large margins but dropping one.

The Pirates defeated the 3A Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds 17-3 at their first road game of the season on March 15.

In his first outing of the year, Wes Paulsen pitched five strong innings, allowing just two earned runs. He continued to get stronger as the game progressed, hitting his spots and mixing up his pitches, keeping the Thunderbird hitters off-balance. Paulsen was supported by strong team defense, especially the solid play of senior shortstop Matt Amick.

The Pirate hitters continue to look strong. Leading off the game, Peter Johnson scorched a line drive double over the right fielder’s head, and along with Tyler Bernheisel, scored on a two-RBI line drive single to center field by Amick. Johnson finished the night going three for four and scoring three runs.

Julian Smith added two solid line drive singles, driving in four runs, and Ryan Johnson added three hits.

“I thought the boys did a great job of executing on all phases of the game today,” Coach Steve Hall said after the game. “Wes did a great job of pitching, and you can give credit to Peter Johnson for calling a great game.  The guys are doing a good job of making pitchers throw them strikes and it’s paying off as you can tell with a two-game scoring total of 30 runs against only four.”

Two days later, on March 17, the Pirates varsity team lost their first game of the season on the road against the Chimacum Cowboys 8-1. Vashon took an early 1-0 lead, and Bernheisel held the Cowboys to a modest 3-1 lead after five innings. Having reached 90 pitches in his first full outing of the season, Bernheisel was relieved by Amick in the sixth.

The combination of Amick leaving some pitches up in the zone — and a key call at first that went against the Pirates — led to five Cowboy runs in the bottom of the sixth to seal the deal. Vashon’s hot bats cooled off as the Pirates only mustered four hits, two of them coming from first baseman Paulsen. 

“The players went home disappointed, but hopefully will learn from the experience,” said Hall.

To round out the week, the team defeated Charles Wright Academy 22-5 on Friday, March 19, a beautiful spring day on Vashon’s home field.

Vashon sophomore Smith got the nod and took the mound as the starting pitcher. However, he quickly found that the first six Tarrier batters were skilled and strong. The Tarrier lineup included freshman standout Nate Mondou, a member of the USA U14 national team that traveled to Ecuador last summer.

Charles Wright scored three runs before Vashon recorded the first out of the game. Fortunately, the Vashon defense stepped up and stopped the Tarrier surge. Vashon responded immediately as Peter Johnson, Tyler Bernheisel and Joe Gilmour all reached base and scored on three consecutive errors by the Tarrier defense.

Smith took the mound to start the second inning, but surrendered a home run to the lead-off batter.  With the core of the Tarrier lineup coming up, Coach Hall thanked Smith for his effort and handed the ball to Paulsen, who shut down the Tarriers, pitching four strong innings while surrendering only two runs.

Game highlights included a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch by left fielder Matt Dick and a three-run home run by Smith. Gilmour added three singles and three RBIs, and lead-off hitter Johnson added three walks, two singles and six stolen bases.

Coach Hall summarized the game saying that Smith is young and was out-matched on Friday by the Tarrier hitters. Since the matchup was a key league game, Hall knew he needed to bring in senior workhorse Paulsen to shut down the tough Tarrier offense, which he did.

The Pirates played a non-league competition against Eatonville on Monday, March 22, (with results too late for publication in this week’s Beachcomber), and have an important league matchup against a strong Orting team today, Wednesday, March 24.

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— Rita Allman does Web and team support for the Pirates.

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