(Bellingham, WA) ESN was live at the Bellingham 2A baseball Regional one of the few not to get cancelled in Western Washington. All 3 game results, picture galleries and stories are below.
Game 1: Fife 3, Blaine 0
The 19-3 Fife Trojans were playing on an all field-turf field for only the 2nd time but Coach Shane Nixon was confident his team would adjust and boy did they with outstanding defense to keep the Borderites at bay. Blaine Head Coach Larry Hoffman told us prior to the game they would have to play a perfect game to knock off a team the quality of Fife and although they played extremely well 2 early mistakes were the key to the game.
Fife’s Tanner Knapp was brilliant striking out the side in the top of the 1st and then got a run without a hit in the bottom of the 1st panel. Jaden Hassell led off with a walk and then Blaine starting pitcher Jon Starcer would thtrow to 1st to keep him close but it was a bit wide and got past 1st baseman Josh Fakkema and Hassell made it all the way to 3rd. Tanner Broom then grounded one to Blaine’s 2nd baseman Chase Abshere deep in the hole between 1st and 2nd easily scoring Hassell on the ground-out and Fife led 1-0 after 1.
Another error would lead to a direct run in the bottom of the 2nd for the Trojans as Eli Graham led off with a base hit. Jalen Cope then bunted but the throw from 3rd baseman Cruz Rodriguez was late and Cope was safe digging out an infield base hit while the speedy Graham got a great jump on the bunt and ended up on 3rd and runners were on the corner’s with no outs. Kyle Mozzone (Kmomo) would then ground to 3rd and Graham took off for home. Blaine’s Rodriguez went to field the ground ball and was going to come home but dropped the ball and the run scored to make it 2-0 with runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs.
Fife couldn’t turn this into a big inning though as Chase Anderson sac bunted the runners over to 2nd and 3rd for the 1st out. Davis Bottemiller then flied one to right field and Jon Gunderson easily caught it for the 2nd out and then threw a strike to home as Cope tried to tag up and score another run. Catcher Brenden Riddle applied the tag and Blaine stayed in the game trailing only 2-0.
Blaine’s best chance to score was in the 4th inning when with a runner on 1st and 2 out, Anthony Ball drilled a shot to deep center for a stand-up double and Fakkema got to 3rd. But a grounder to Fife’s short stop Chase Anderson ended the threat, it was just one of 5 put-outs for Anderson who was tremendous in the field.
Fife got an insurance run in the bottom of the 6th when Eli Graham led off with a towering blast over the 350 mark of the right field fence and the ball ended up out on Moore Street to give the Trojans a 3-0 lead heading into the top of the 7th. This would also be named our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game.
Tanner Knapp finished what he began knocking down the Borderites in order and finished the game with a sweet catch of a hard line drive by Brenden Riddle right back to Knapp. Knapp only faced 24 batters over the 7 innings retiring 3 in a row 5 times. Fife improved to 20-3 and will play the winner of the Centralia vs Lynden game with a trip to Yakima and the Final 4 on the line.
Our Tommy Lowe of the Greene Realty Group Players of the Game went to Fife’s Tanner Knapp and Blaine’s Anthony Ball.
Game 2: Lynden 8, Centralia 1
The Centralia Tigers came into this game as the defending State 2A Champions but have had an up and down year coming in with a 13-11 record. The 2nd half of the season consistent pitching and errors had plagued the Tigers and the Lynden Lions knew that and looked to seize on that opportunity. Lions Head Coach Cory White told his team to force the Tigers to make plays and concentrate on putting the ball in play.
That strategy along with 4 1st inning walks from Tigers starting pitcher Christian Peters combined with 2 errors and 1 huge bases clearing double led to a 6 run inning for the Lions where they sent 12 batters to the plate and left the bases loaded. Centralia would never recover.
It began with Jordan Wittenberg walking followed Marcos Vanderveen with a base hit. After a Sac bunt Trevin Hope walked and Anthony Garcia drove in a run on a fielder’s choice. Dalton Ohligschlager drove in a run with a grounder to 2nd baseman Cody Parker and reached safely on an error. Jordan Holmstrom then cleared the bases with a stand-up double pounding it into the gap. Holmstrom would score for the 6th run and the Lions never looked back.
Lynden starting pitcher Trevin Hope was not overpowering but only walked one and challenged the Tigers to put the ball into play. Centralia obliged in fact they led off 5 of the 7 innings with base hits but the Lions defense of Wittenberg at Shortstop, Vanderveen at 2nd and 1st baseman Jared House combined for 5 double plays. Centralia’s Riley Christianson led off the game with a base hit only to be followed by a 6-4-3 double play. Christian Peters led of the 2nd with a base hit followed by a 4-6-3 DP. Joey Aliff led off the Centralia 3rd with a base hit followed by a 4-6-3 DP.
The Tigers would get their only run in the 6th inning with Christensen leading off with a base hit followed by a walk and then Nolan Wasson with a hit to load the bases. Peters then grounded to Vanderveen who tagged Wasson on his way to 2nd and threw Peters out at 1st while Christensen scored for the 4th double play. The Lions then ended the game in the bottom of the 7th with a 3-6-3 twin killing and the Lions were on their way to the Regional Championship against Fife. Lynden had added a run in the 3rd and 5th innings for the final 8-1 count.
Our Tommy Lowe of the Greene Realty Group Players of the Game went to Lynden’s Jordan Wittenberg and Centralia’s Riley Christensen. Our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game goes to Wittenberg, Vanderveen and House for the 5 double plays.
Game 3: Regional Championship Fife 2, Lynden 1
The Lynden Lions looked like they were going to pick up right where they left off when lead-off hitter Jordan Wittenberg ripped a double off Fife starter Cole Connolly and Marcus Vanderveen followed that up with an RBI single to give the Lions a quick 1-0 lead. Little did they know the well would suddenly go dry.
Connolly would settle down and go a total of 6 innings and in 4 of those would only face 3 batters. Meantime, the Trojan offense would tie the game in the bottom of the 2nd but a questionable call would cut short a potential Fife big inning or at least the lead.
With 1 out Eli Graham would single followed by Jalen Cope getting hit by a pitch. Kevin Nakamura would single to fill the bases and then Lions starting pitcher Anthony Garcia would plunk his 2nd batter of the inning, Chase Anderson forcing in the tying run Graham. Wesley Nixon then flew one to left field with the bases loaded and Dalton Ohligschlager would make the catch for the 2nd out and Cope took off for home on the tag. Ohligschlager’s throw was to the inside of home plate and Cope slid to the outside and looked to have tag home plate prior to a tag but the home plate umpire called him out for the double play ending the inning with the teams tied at 1-1.
Fife would take the lead in the 4th inning when led off with a base hit and was sac bunted over by Kyle Mozzone. Chase Anderson then drilled one deep to right and drove home Cope with an RBI double. The Trojans took a slim 2-1 lead.
Lynden’s best chance to tie or even take the lead came in the 6th inning when the Lions got back-to-back 2 out singles. Trevin Hope slapped the 1st one and Anthony Garcia right behind. Dalton Ohligschlager then walked to fill the bases with 2 outs and were 1 hit away from taking the lead. But Connolly dug down and got a critical strike-out of Jordan Holmstrom to end the threat.
As the game went to the top of 7 and the score the same the Trojans were just 3 outs from advancing to the Final 4 in Yakima. Eli Graham came in to relieve Connolly and was facing Dawson Ohligschlager who drilled what appeared to be a lead-off base hit to right field when Nixon came from nowhere, laid out and made a Sportscenter catch for the 1st out. If Nixon misses that ball may go to the wall and Ohligschlager would have easily made it to 2nd and possibly 3rd base. This would have changed the whole complexion of the inning because #9 hitter Rylan Severson would have been looking to either bunt or the fly ball he ended up hitting for the 2nd out to center field would have likely scored the tying run. Wittenberg then grounded to Mozzone who tagged 1st for the final out and the Fife Trojans head to the Final 4 for the first time in school history.
Clearly our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game was the amazing catch by Nixon and our Tommy Lowe of the Greene Realty Group Players of the Game went to Fife’s Chase Anderson and for Lynden Marcus Vanderveen.