There is an additional level of electricity at the ballpark during a league tournament.
Each team can climb the bracket ladder, or return home and end the season. Vashon’s first-round opponent on Monday, May 9 was Charles Wright, which has not provided a challenge for the Pirates this season. That trend continued and Vashon easily recorded a 4 to 25 win over the Tarriers.
After round one, the Nisqually League Tournament games were held at a neutral location, Foss High School, next to Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.
Round two on May 11 placed the Pirates against the Klahowya Eagles. Finn Hawkins started on the mound and pitched well, but the Eagles hit better.
Vashon had singles from Hawkins, Will Frith, Sam Walker and Charlie Walker. However, Klahowya’s defense was outstanding. It was a “tip your cap” kind of game as the Eagles flat outplayed the Pirates and the day ended in a 0-10 loss.
“We didn’t play bad, but they turned every base, every opportunity into a run,” said Coach Simon Perrin.
The double-elimination format made round three against Cascade Christian on Friday, May 13, win or go home.
That game turned out to be one fun ride at the ballpark. Senior Sam Walker started for Vashon and struck out the side in the first inning. Gian Jung, the Cougars’ top pitcher, started for Cascade Christian.
In the second inning, Vashon took the lead, 0-2, when Jack Harvey received another of his team-leading hit by pitches and Will Weber singled, followed by a sacrifice fly by Finn Magonegil and an RBI single by Frith.
Cascade Christian countered with two runs in the third to tie the game. In the fourth, the Pirates produced one of the most exciting innings of the season. Harvey walked, Magonegil singled and Frith was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Third baseman Chase Bradrick singled to score Harvey and retake the lead. Then, Maxwell Delgado-Williams busted the game wide open with a base-clearing triple to left field and Vashon took a 2-6 lead.
In the fifth, Will Weber doubled and Magonegil knocked in his 2nd RBI of the day for an insurance run. The Pirates would live to play another game with a 2-7 win.
Sam Walker had an outstanding day on the mound and finished with 11 strikeouts.
“The team did extra work on Thursday to prepare and they hit their ace very well, got his pitch count up and they worked out of tough situations. That game showed the potential of this team,” said Coach Perrin.
Klahowya lost to Bellevue Christian for first place, which created another game against the Eagles for Vashon in round four. The winner would be in second place and continue on to the state regionals.
Frith started on the mound and struggled in the first inning, giving up five runs, 4 earned, including a 3-run homer by Eagles shortstop Salas. However, the team’s “never give up” approach was on full display as they battled back into the game.
In the second inning, Weber hit one of his two doubles on the day, and Charlie Walker doubled him home.
In the 3rd inning, Sam Walker doubled and Harvey singled him home. Frith settled in on the mound and held the Eagles to only one more run over the next four innings.
It was 2-6 going into the sixth, and though Vashon had a lot of batted balls, the mojo evaporated and nothing was dropping for them.
“Will got settled, but again Klahowya just capitalized on all of their opportunities,” said Coach Perrin.
Harvey came in to pitch in relief in the sixth, and the final score was 2-8. Klahowya would continue on to the state regionals and Vashon’s season came to a close.
Though disappointed in the outcome of the last game, the team, fans, and those in the program are buoyed by the team’s vast improvement and its future.
“Senior Sam Walker has been a great leader, it will be tough to lose him. But, we are also excited. We went from second to last in the league to competing for second place in just one year,” said Coach Perrin. “I’m proud of the boys, proud of their effort and the responsibility they took. We are excited for next year.”