Mill Creek Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

By David Pan 

Archbishop Murphy coming on strong at right time | Baseball


Last updated 5/5/2018 at Noon

A strong finish in the regular season helped Archbishop Murphy earn the No. 4 seed to the 2A Bi-District baseball tournament.

Seeding was determined this season by a Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) based on conference games. The Wildcats (12-2 in the league, 17-3 overall), who finished second in the Cascade Conference, earned a first round bye and will play Sehome at noon, Saturday, May 5, at Daniels Field in Anacortes.

“The boys are playing really good,” Archbishop Murphy coach Max Whitt said. “They’ve got a strong chemistry together and everything they do is together as a team. As a team, we’re making some huge strides heading into districts.”

The Wildcats prevailed in four out of their last five games, including victories over league opponents King’s, Cedarcrest and Granite Falls.

Since the start of the season, Whitt noted that as a group the pitching staff has improved significantly.

Early in the year, the Wildcats weren’t throwing as many strikes and often ended up with five to six walks per contest. Now Archbishop Murphy is limiting its free passes to about two per game.

“They are keeping us in games and letting our bats come up and get us some runs,” Whitt said.

Whitt plans to start freshman Aiden VanRensum, who is 6-0 with a 1.62 ERA.

“He’s done an absolutely fantastic job all year long,” Whitt said.

Freshmen often aren’t starters on varsity and even fewer end up having such a major impact on a team, the Archbishop Murphy coach noted.

The Wildcats actually have two other freshmen starters in catcher Kevin Faulkner and outfielder Jack Johnson, who was hitting .430.

“They’ve started every game,” Whitt said.

The four-member senior class is providing solid leadership for the underclassmen.

Whitt will be relying on them to help guide the Wildcats at districts.

“We have some great seniors who’ve been around for a while,” he said. “They have experience in the playoffs… Our freshmen, they really look up to those guys. They are great examples.”

Senior second baseman/designated hitter Austin Hauck has stepped up his offensive game toward the end of the season. He was hitting .380.

“He’s really been tearing the cover off the ball,” Whitt said.

Junior third baseman Brandon King has a team-high .465 average and also was leading the Wildcats in RBI.

Archbishop Murphy has shown it can produce runs in bunches, scoring 12 or more runs in eight contests this season. The Wildcats’ pitching staff also has been dominant throughout the season. Archbishop Murphy has allowed three or fewer runs in 12 games, including the final two regular season contests against Granite Falls and Squalicum.


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