By Eric Frith
For The Beachcomber
It was a week of ups and downs for Vashon baseball in a three-game set against Cascade Christian including complete shifts of fortune on either side of a doubleheader, and an on-field ceremony to honor four seniors.
April 27 was senior night. Aaron Brockschmidt, Martin Ellison, Finn Scriver, Ty Radford and their families paraded past the team assembled on the third baseline to receive recognition and appreciation at home plate for their tenure as Pirates.
There was also an added element of excitement for the fans unable to attend. Voice Of Vashon set up their mobile unit to provide a live broadcast of the game with Jeff Hoyt and Justin Weber on the call.
Radford took the mound in the 1st and Vashon quickly got out of the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Sam Walker blasted a two-run home run over the left-field fence with Will Weber on base. The home town dugout and fans exploded with excitement as they watched the first long ball of Vashon’s season fly away.
But, Radford struggled with his control after the first inning and the defense broke down, committing five errors. The struggling defense combined with the Cougar’s timely gap and bloop hitting put the game out of reach. Freshman Jian Jung pitched a solid outing for the Cougars and promises to be a formidable opponent for the next three years.
The Pirates kept competing with Will Weber and Jack Harvey pitching in relief and scoring eight more runs, highlighted by Scriver stealing second and then third base on an overthrow — and then home on another, completing three head first slides in one play. But the team couldn’t dig themselves out of the deep hole they had dug and lost 19-10.
The Pirates traveled to Puyallup for a doubleheader against Cascade Christian on April 29. . Vashon needed to win both to be in second place for the upcoming tournament so the stakes were set and it turned out to be a tale of two games. Fortunes can swing in any sport, but there’s nothing like baseball to take sayings like, “each game is a fresh start” to new heights.
The first five- innings of the game was the Pirate’s worst defensive and offensive outing of the shortened season. The bats went cold with the only rays of hope coming from singles by Maxwell Delgado-Williams, Radford, Finn Hawkins and Jack Harvey spread throughout the game. Sam Walker was pitching well, but once again the defense behind him really faltered and posted seven errors in five innings.
“Our hitting was weak and the error bug was out there,” said coach Perrin. “We left Sam hanging on the mound and our approach was just off.”
The Pirates made a little run in the last inning and scratched across two runs, but there was nothing going right for Vashon in this one and they lost 2-11.
In the second game, the winds changed, literally. It was a gorgeous, clear evening and as they started the second half of the doubleheader a strong wind began to blow in from center field and it must have filled the Pirate’s sails as everything was suddenly going their way.
The ship was rocking a little bit in the top of the first as Vashon, now the “home” team, allowed a run and the Cougars loaded the bases. But, pitcher Will Frith got out of the jam with two strikeouts and a pop-up to Will Weber at short, and it was smooth sailing from there.
Vashon jumped to a 1-3 lead in the bottom of the first with singles by Scriver, Weber and Walker and a double by Hawkins. In the third, the bats really caught fire as the Pirates fired off six singles in a row by Walker, Frith, Radford, Hawkins, Finn Magonegil and Martin Ellison to add five more runs more to their score.
Cascade Christian had a run in the top of the fourth inning, scoring four runs, but Vashon put three more on the board in the bottom half of the frame to dash any hopes of a comeback. The youngsters really stepped up in this one as freshman Finn Hawkins lead the offense going three-for-three with three RBI’s. Freshman Jack Harvey did a solid job behind the plate for both games and made it a freshman battery with Frith on the mound who finished the second game with two earned runs and eight strikeouts including the last out of the game as a cougar went down swinging.
“Frith crushed it and they couldn’t hit his curve.” said coach Perrin, “The whole team had a better approach at the plate and were hunting pitches, but it was unfortunate we just missed second place for the tournament.”
The Pirates play at Cascade Christian at 4 p.m. on May 5, for the first round of the Nisqually Tournament. The second game of the tournament is at 4 p.m. on May 7, the location TBD.