Grizzlies rally to beat Wolfpack, claim state berth | Baseball
Last updated 5/19/2017 at Noon
Glacier Peak’s Riley Parker was waiting for the right pitch.
The Grizzlies were trailing archrival Jackson 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning but had the tying run on third base and the winning run on second with no outs.
Parker’s patience was rewarded when the pitch was thrown right down the middle of the plate.
The Glacier Peak junior connected his bat with the ball, sending a deep fly ball to left field that scored both runners and gave the Grizzlies a wild 4-3 victory in a winner-to-state/loser-out 4A District 1 baseball game Saturday, May 13, at Meridian Park in Shoreline.
“Just a good pitch down the middle,” Parker said. “He gave it to me and I smashed it.”
Parker had been up and down at the plate this season, Glacier Peak coach Bob Blair said. Parker struggled at the start of the year but recently seemed to find his groove.
“He’s been hitting solid,” Blair said. “So I trusted him. He hit one off the wall earlier, so I knew he could probably, if he got a hold of one, he could do it again.”
Glacier Peak (15-7) advanced to the state tournament for the second straight year, though this is the Grizzlies’ first as a 4A school.
“We’ve done that a couple times this season,” Blair said of the come-from-behind victory. “With our offense, we know that all we need is some chances and one through nine, we feel like we can put the ball in play.”
Glacier Peak is scheduled to play Chiawana in a first round state playoff game at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 20 at Heidelberg Park in Tacoma. If the Grizzlies win, they then would play either Issaquah or Kentlake later that day.
While Parker provided the offensive spark for Glacier Peak, senior pitcher Deven Kamihara, in a rare start, kept the Timberwolves in check for 6 1/3 innings.
After allowing two unearned runs in the first inning, Kamihara shut out Jackson for the next four innings before allowing one more run in the sixth. Jackson’s Diego Altamirano drew a lead-off walk and eventually scored on a double-play groundout.
“He was fantastic,” Blair said Kamihara. “He’s played left for us most of the year, so he hasn’t seen the mound too much.”
Blair estimated Kamihara threw about 15 innings this season.
“They’re a great team,” Blair said of the Timberwolves. “They hit well. They are one of the better offensive teams in the league. He really shut them down.”
Blair had a hunch that Kamihara was ready for Saturday’s challenge.
“He had the right attitude and was ready to go out,” Blair said. “I just trusted him.”
The Glacier Peak standout drew a lead-off walk in the bottom of the seventh. Kamihara then advanced to third base when Jackson misplayed a bunt by Sean Peterson and the Grizzlies ended up with runners on second and third and no outs.
The Wolfpack took a 2-0 in the first on a sacrifice fly by Addison Beckmann and RBI single by Chris Grayson. Glacier Peak answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Ethan Smith and Ryan Ober both hit doubles and scored.
Jackson coach Kirk Nicholson said that the loss was a tough way for his players to end their season.
“We had a great year,” he said. “We came up a bit short, but we still had a great year.”
Jackson senior pitcher Anton Soderqvist matched his counterpart on the mound, allowing only two runs in the first inning. He was lifted in the seventh inning. The two pitchers who followed Soderqvist did not record an out.
“He did everything a senior guy is supposed to do,” Nicholson said. “He gave us a chance to win. We just couldn’t get it done for him.”
In a first round district game, Glacier Peak overcame a 7-0 deficit to beat Jackson 14-8 on Monday, May 8, at Glacier Peak High School.
Blair said that he’s feeling optimistic about the Grizzlies’ prospects in the state tournament.
“I think we can compete with anybody offensively,” Blair said.
“Rolling into these next games, we should be looking good,” Parker added.