Vashon’s magic ride continues into state baseball tournament

The first game of the 1A State Tournament will take place on Saturday, May 18.

Pirates varsity baseball continued their magic ride — and earned their ticket to the 1A State Tournament — last week as they rolled into the double elimination portion of the Nisqually League Tournament at Foss Field in Tacoma.

Their first game on May 8 was a rough start. Vashon faced off against Bellevue Christian, the league’s best team — which was firing on all cylinders.

“Our game plan was to get out ahead early, and move the game at a quick pace,” Head Coach Simon Perrin said. “We had good opportunity in the first inning, with two on and one out, but couldn’t get it done. They have a Division 1 level catcher and it’s tough to small ball on that team.”

Vashon dropped that game in a 11-0 loss with no hits and four errors. The Pirates needed to win the next two games to be able to continue on to the state tournament.

Despite the rough loss, The Pirates licked their wounds and turned things around in the next game on May 10 against Klahowya.

“We stress with the boys that they have to learn to let it sting, sink in and heal in 24 hours,” Coach Perrin said. “We had the seniors run practice the day before the next game and they came out and played great baseball. Charlie Walker was outstanding on the mound for us, and they executed the game plan perfectly against a tough team.”

Walker threw a complete game, giving up only two earned runs. He also spearheaded the offense with two hits, two RBIs and a run scored. The Pirates took the lead early and maintained control throughout the game as they tallied 10 hits and nine runs behind Walker’s gem. Chase Bradrick also knocked in two runs. Finn Hawkins had two hits and an RBI, and Finn Magonegil had two hits and two stolen bases. Jack Harvey, Josh Healey and Will Frith all added base hits as Klahowya’s tournament came to an end and Vashon moved on to the next game with a 9-4 victory.

Bellevue Christian beat Charles Wright Academy (CWA) 3-0 to win first place in the league tournament and advance to the 1A state tournament. CWA then faced off with Vashon to determine second place, with the winner joining Bellevue to go to state.

On the morning of May 11, the Pirates jump-started the scoring against CWA in the first inning as Magonegil and Harvey singled, followed by a two-run double from Hawkins.

Then the pitchers’ duel between Hawkins for Vashon and CWA’s Reece and Grasser would ensue. Hawkins pitched 6 and two-thirds innings, putting up a relentless battle the entire way. He got into trouble a few times with runners on base after walks, but the solid defense behind him held as both teams played a tight, errorless game.

Vashon scattered hits along the way from Bradrick and Frith, but could not score again, and the game went into the seventh inning still 2-0 in Vashon’s favor.

The bottom of the last inning was looking good, with two quick outs bracketing a hit by pitch, but CWA would not go quietly as they fought for their impressive season to continue. A single and a walk loaded the bases, and then Hawkins had to be replaced due to the tournament pitch count rules.

With one out to go, up two, and a runner at every base, Frith was moved from first base to the pitcher’s mound.

“That was one of the toughest moments I’ve had as a coach,” Perrin said. “We trust Will and he’s closed tight games for us before, but to have to put a player in that situation with no warm up and the season on the line was not how we drew it up. But, in our mound meeting, Will was all confidence the whole way. He wanted the ball and that gave me and the team a lot of confidence as well.”

The count went full and and the tension mounted, with nowhere to put the batter. Fans from both sides paced closer to the fence, cheering encouragement as both teams were literally one play away from a victory. Frith threw a high fastball, which was foul tipped straight back and caught by catcher Harvey.

Strike three! The Pirates are going to state! Harvey and the rest of the team rushed the mound in celebration.

“The boys have been heartbroken at that 10 a.m. Saturday game to come up one short the past two years,” Coach Perrin said. “I’m so happy for this group to do it. Hawkins was huge for us and I really commend the freshmen, they’ve put in work and really added to the team.”

The first game of the 1A State Tournament will take place at Camas High School against Seton Catholic at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18.

The next day, May 19, will feature a celebration for Steve Hall, who died earlier this spring, at the Vashon High School baseball field at 1 p.m.

Coach Hall was head coach for the Pirates the last time Vashon went to the State Tournament in 2016, when the team won it all and became state champions. Current assistant coach Chester Pruett and head coach Simon Perrin were on that team.

“Steve was a lot like the identity of this team: scrappy, small ball and attention to all the little things,” Perrin said.

Keep up with Vashon’s journey at state by visiting the tournament bracket here.

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