Rough patch can’t keep Pirates out of league contention

This season, up is down and down is up.

Over the past three years, it’s been somewhat predictable which teams would be near the top or bottom of the Nisqually Baseball League.

This season, though, up is down and down is up.

Charles Wright Academy (CWA) has turned itself into a contender under the guidance of coach Henry Cheney. Cheney, an alum of CWA, went on to play at the University of Portland and has returned to Charles Wright as head coach.

Charles Wright players notched Vashon on their belt on March 25. Charlie Walker pitched well, but the Pirate bats were cold in the 1-6 loss. March 29 continued the hitting drought against a much improved East Jefferson. Three errors with runners on resulted in a tight, 0-1 loss.

Unlike the unpredictable shake up in the league standings, rescheduled and lost games in the Northwest are a perennial, unfortunate certainty. Cue the rainouts, and fast forward to April 13, when the Vashon bats woke up in a game against Bellevue Christian. But the nine hits were scattered, and produced only one run. The defense was solid and the game was close until the 7th inning — and then the Vikings knocked in five runs to take a 9-1 victory.

In the midst of their losing streak, a set of three games against Klahowya would prove critical for the Pirates’ season.

The first of the three was April 17, on the peninsula at Klahowya. Down two in the top of the 7th, the scrappy Pirates dug their way back into the game and tied it 3-3, only to have the Eagles plate one and walk it off in the bottom of the frame.

April 19 brought a double header, and the beautiful day coupled with a simultaneous softball game made for a glorious day at the Vashon ball fields.

In the first game, the Eagles capitalized on a couple of errors and followed up with well timed hits to put up three runs in the top of the third. Vashon countered with two runs in the bottom of the frame off an Eagle’s error, and singles by Finn Magonegil and Jack Harvey. Two more errors by Vashon in the 5th supplied two more runs, and Klahowya would take the game with five unearned runs to Vashon’s two.

The second game of the double header had the Pirates rounding the bases again like they did in the beginning of the season. Magonegil, Harvey, Walker and Finn Hawkins each had two hits. Walker and Sebastian Gallez blasted triples. Chase Bradrick added a single to the 10 total hits. Hawkins’ solid pitching in front of Vashon’s strong defense kept the Eagles to one run for a 7-1 victory.

During the tough patch, the Pirates scratched out a 4-6 record to keep themselves in contention for the league playoffs, now hoping this momentum will carry them — and the weather — for the rest of the season.

Eric Frith is a parent of a Pirates baseball team member.

Upcoming games:

April 26 — vs. Charles Wright Academy at Vashon, 4:00 p.m.

April 29 — vs. Seattle Christian at Seattle Christian, 4:00 p.m.