Sumner and White River have a lot to play for this week. Sumner needs two wins to wrestle the SPSL 2A title away from White River, while the Hornets need to manage just a split in the two games. Before we go on, please note that our standings online are not updated completely, so the records do not indicate an accurate representation.
The teams faced off on Tuesday and it was exactly how you’d expect the top two teams in the league to play each other: pretty much even.
Deadlocked at zero after seven innings, the game went to extras. Nothing in the eighth. Nothing in the ninth. Finally, in the 10th, Sumner broke through for a pair of runs for a 2-0 win. The victory means Wednesday’s game is for the title. Neither team will have its ace, though, as both threw for more than three innings on Tuesday (more on just how well they pitched in a bit).
Sumner coach Casey Adcox called the contest a well-pitched, well-played game by both teams, one with a lot of strategy involved. In fact, it was strategy that won the game for Sumner in the 10th. Here’s how it happened.
– Tysen Fischlin led off the frame with a single. With Chase Torgison at the plate, Adcox gave the sign to bunt. Before Torgison could bunt, though, an error allowed Fischlin to advance to second.
– After a ball was thrown, Adcox decided to take the bunt off because the infield was so close. Torgison rewarded him for the decision by hitting an RBI double to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
– With still no one out, Sumner gave up its No. 4 hitter and bunted Torgison to third.
– With one out, Adcox put on the safety squeeze. Luc Powers-Hubbard fouled off the bunt attempt. Adcox took off the call and Powers-Hubbard hit a run-scoring double to give Sumner a 2-0 lead.
On Tuesday, one run was enough for Sumner pitcher Christian Parsons. Two? Well that was a mountain of a deficit to overcome for White River.
Parsons started the game, pitched well through the first few innings, and then picked up steam as the sixth, seventh and eighth innings rolled along. Parsons ended up pitching all 10 innings, needing 136 pitches to get through the marathon. He wasn’t perfect, as he gave up six hits and three walks, but he did strike out 13.
“That’s pretty good for 10 innings really,” Adcox said of the pitch count. “That was kind of a max I’ve ever had a guy go. That guy is supremely conditioned, he’s as fit and athletic as any guy I’ve ever had, on the mound or not.
“We had good conversation [throughout the game]. I really watched the mechanics throughout the game, is their arm dragging? Christian’s very compact, strong.”
So now, Sumner has a chance to win its first league title under Adcox, the seventh-year head coach of the Spartans. They’ve been to five straight playoffs, but yet to grab the league title.
“Our team’s pretty confident,” Adcox said. “There’s definitely ups and downs in that game for both teams.”
Scott Lambert had a decent game on Monday. The Bellevue Christian left-hander struck out 14 batters. Like I said, decent.
Oh, and he threw 6 1/3 innings. That equates to 19 outs. So 14 of the 19 outs he recorded came via strikeout.
Lambert did give up five runs on six hits and four walks, so the pitching line itself isn’t perfect. But only two of those runs were earned (Bellevue Christian committed three errors). That seems to be the story of Lambert’s season. Great stuff, lots of strikeouts and trying to limit the damage.
Lambert has given up no more than three earned runs in a start this year and has struck out 48 in five starts, while averaging nearly 6 2/3 each time he takes the mound.
“He has really good stuff, we’ve really worked on the mental aspect,” first-year Bellevue Christian coach Blane Berry said.
Lambert throws his fastball in the mid-80s, which can immediately make that a top end pitch for a high school player. The senior also has a changeup and breaking ball that he’ll throw for strikes, which keeps hitters off-balance. In Monday’s win over Seattle Christian, a team that had a handful of lefties in the lineup, those offspeed pitches kept hitters off-balance.
It might not be quite the same, but it reminds me of one of the funnier moments in the MLB. So for a moment, let’s recall the 1993 MLB All-Star Game.
Here’s the scene: Randy Johnson (the Mariners version of the Big Unit) is on the mound. Phillies catcher John Kruk is at the plate. It’s a lefty vs. lefty matchup. Johnson, of course, sporting the 100-mph fastball.
Here’s what happened: Johnson sails a pitch high over Kruk’s head that easily reaches the backstop. The benches erupt in laughter as Kruk looks relieved to be alive. After a moment of fanning himself off with the relief that will come after a 100-mph fastball doesn’t hit you, Kruk stand back in.
Here’s the aftermath: Johnson hits the outer half of the plate with his next pitch as Kruk bails out of the box before the pitch is halfway to the catcher. Johnson then gets Kruk to meekly wave at two offspeed pitches as he pulls out of the box, scared for his life.
Like Johnson, who played collegiately at USC, Lambert wants to take his skills to the next level. He’s a late-bloomer, though, Berry said and so a Division II school or community college may be the most likely landing spot for the lefty.
Puyallup has moved up two spots to No. 24 in the Perfect Game National HS top 50. Here is what the blurb has to say about the Vikings.
“Puyallup (Wash.) is one of the few remaining undefeated teams left in the country among schools that play in their respective state’s most competitive classification. The Vikings have gotten off to a 17-0 start and now find themselves in the top 25 nationally, moving up to No. 24 this week.
As always, this week’s poll, courtesy of Lem Elway.
1. Puyallup (17-0)
2. Moses Lake (13-1)
3. Gonzaga Prep (14-2)
4. Cascade, Ev. (13-2)
5. Bothell (13-4)
6. Beamer (11-3)
7. Walla Walla (11-3)
8. Union (12-4)
9. Redmond (8-4)
10. So. Kitsap (13-4)
1. Kennewick (14-0)
2. Shorewood (14-1)
3. Timberline (15-1)
4. Marys-Pil. (13-1)
5. O’Dea (13-2)
6. Mt.Spokane (13-4)
7. Mt.View (12-4)
8. Col. River (14-2)
9. No. Thurston (10-4)
10. Bainbridge (12-2)
1. Sumner (13-1)
2. Selah (15-1)
3. Tumwater (14-2)
4. White River (14-1)
5. E.Valley (Yak) (13-3)
6. Hockinson (10-2)
7. Centralia (10-3)
8. Squalicum (12-3)
9. Anacortes (12-3)
10. No. Kitsap (10-5)
1. Woodland (14-0)
2. Freeman (12-1)
3. Connell (14-2)
4. Cashmere (13-2)
5. Tenino (13-2)
6. Naches (13-3)
7. Brewster (10-3)
8. Cascade (11-4)
9. Cle Elum (11-3)
10. Castle Rock (9-3)