PASCO – Auburn Mountainview pitcher Shawn Guinn limped around the field after the game, an ice pack bulging from his back pocket.
He had pitched so well, but in the bottom of the seventh inning he took a line drive off his hip, and now he had to deal with the pain setting in.
It was the story of his season: Bruised, yes, but not broken.
Guinn pitched six stellar innings in leading Auburn Mountainview (26-3) to a 7-1 win against West Seattle (21-6) in the Class 3A state championship game. It’s the first state title in the eight-year history of the Mountainview baseball program.
“I’m perfectly fine with it,” Guinn said, smiling. “It’s a war scar, a battle scar.”
It was only a month ago that Guinn, a senior, approached coach Glen Walker and asked if there was someone else he might want to start instead because Guinn seemed to be the only pitcher losing.
But in a team meeting the night before the state championship game, Walker asked Guinn if he were ready to go. Guinn said he was.
He dazzled in his best outing of the season. He gave up just five hits, including only two in the first six innings. He had a no-hitter through four innings and struck out five.
In a game that was low scoring much of the way, Guinn’s work proved even more important.
“He’d struggled, and he’d questioned himself,” Walker said. “But clearly he’s a guy that we need. We had a feeling that he was going to give us a great opportunity, and he was clearly the right choice.”
Guinn also got plenty of help later in the game.
Mason Cerrillo drove in the game’s first run in the fourth inning after Kekoa Nahaku and Jeffrey Morgan reached on singles. Cerrillo hit a dribbler to first base and just beat the diving first baseman to the bag.
Morgan then added another run in the fifth with a sacrifice fly, but it was the sixth inning when Mountainview took control.
Tyler Friis delivered the biggest blow in the four-run sixth with a two-RBI single.
West Seattle was also hungry to claim the school’s first baseball title. The Wildcats stirred in the bottom of the seventh by loading the bases, but they only got one run out of it as Joey Cassano closed the game in relief of Guinn.
“You want to win this game so bad because you get so few chances to do it,” said West Seattle coach Velko Vitalich, whose group advanced farther than any in school history. “But the accomplishments of this team are amazing.”
The same can be said for Auburn Mountainview, a school that won just three games in its first season under Walker eight years ago but now has a state championship trophy for display.
“I don’t even know what to think,” Guinn said. “I’m just amazed right now. The whole season this team has shown a lot of heart. To end it like this, no better way.”