I was able to get out to some games on Tuesday, and it was a nice evening to take in some baseball. The baseball itself, it didn’t disappoint, either.
You never quite know what you’ll see when you go to the ballpark. That’s the beauty of the game.
The two games at Steve Cox Memorial Park were quite different. One was decided by an eight-walk inning (not including a hit-by-pitch), while another ultimately came down to who hit the ball out of the park more.
Before we talk about all those walks (that’s a lot of free passes), there’s one thing that might have surprised me more: the home runs. Apparently, the ball flies out of Steve Cox Memorial Park. And I mean flies.
It started in the first game of the doubleheader when Tino Peleti powered a three-run shot for Bainbridge. Peleti is a strong player and isn’t a stranger to hitting the ball hard, but it looked like he hit it too far up the handle to get it over the fence.
Graham French then hit one out, a solo homer, for West Seattle in the bottom of the second. French had a productive day at the plate and got a good piece of his home run. So I didn’t think much about the ball leaving the park after that, especially since that was it for home runs in the first game.
But then the second game was played and the power display was really put on full display. Ethan Clements hit a first-inning grand slam for O’Dea before Rex Stephan cleared the fences for the Irish. Stuart Fairchild hit a home run for Seattle Prep, then Pierre LeDorze went opposite field to right-center for the final blast of the day.
So why all the home runs?
“It actually gets shallow in left-center, then it gets deep in right-center,” said O’Dea coach Michael Doyle, which makes LeDorze’s opposite field shot all the more impressive.
Seattle Prep calls Steve Cox Memorial Park home during the regular season.
“It makes a little excitement,” Seattle Prep coach Max Engel said, who estimated the left-center field fence at about 335 feet.
(NOTE: Thanks to Seattle Prep athletic director and former baseball coach Ed Paulter for providing actual dimensions.
Left Field line = 314’
Left field gap = 357’
Dead center = 351’
Right field gap = 359’
Right field line = 310’
So not 335 feet, but the point still stands.)
The takeaway? Go watch games tonight or Thursday if you want to see some big flies.
Now onto some of the games and outcomes of this Metro-themed post. Before we delve into it, here are the remaining teams in the league tournament.
Wednesday (both loser-out games):
Seattle Prep vs. Lakeside
Bainbridge vs. Chief Sealth
West Seattle vs. O’Dea (championship game)
Winners of Wednesday’s game face off for third, with fourth place having to play an extra game.
I’ve seen and participated in quite a few games from Little League to high school to college to minor leagues to major leagues, and other levels in between. I can’t recall ever seeing eight walks (I guess we could say nine if we count the hit-by-pitch) in one inning. The surprising thing is that Bainbridge used four pitchers in that inning.
“It’s definitely mental,” Islanders coach David Smart said. “It just kind of snowballed and I don’t think it mattered who we were going to put in there.”
Bainbridge led 8-5 entering the fifth, before the walk parade led to an eight-run frame for West Seattle. The Wildcats eventually won 13-8 to advance to the Metro League title game. Bainbridge plays Chief Sealth tonight to keep its season alive.
“It’s something we’ve got to live with, but it was not a pleasant game to be a part of by any means,” Smart said.
In the other semifinal game, O’Dea powered its way over Seattle Prep. Much of the game was decided by the home runs mentioned above, but Engel also noted walks and mishandled bunts by the Panthers didn’t help the cause.
Up north in District 1, a couple surprises in the 3A bracket as both No. 1 seeds lost in the semifinals. Shorewood and Marysville-Pilchuck will have to win two straight to get to state, although only one of them can reach that stage of the playoffs since they would each other in the third-place game.
Glacier Peak and Mountlake Terrace will play for the title.
Finally, this week’s rankings, courtesy of Lem Elway.