F.H. downs Connell 4-1, takes eighth
By SCOTT RASMUSSEN
Journal of the San Juans Editor
May 21, 2008 · Updated 11:14 AM
Wolverines ousted 18-7 by Freeman in quarterfinals
The Friday Harbor baseball team claimed an eighth-place finish at State and a shot at advancing into the semifinal round by dealing Connell a 4-1 defeat in the opening round of the state 1A tournament.
But injuries, illness and the 90-plus degree heat at game time took their toll as an explosive Freeman squad put an end to the Wolverines post-season run with an 18-7 victory Saturday at Moses Lake.
Friday Harbor (20-3) grabbed an early lead after junior Richie Ochoa belted a 3-run homer in the first inning. Michael Knowles added a solo home run two innings later and the Wolverines led 4-1 after three.
But with catcher Albert Strasser sidelined with a dislocated thumb and freshman Roy Taylor struggling on the mound after a week-long bout with chicken pox, the Scotties (21-1) capitalized on a three-run homer and a flurry of errors to tally nine runs in the fourth inning and took control of the game. The Wolverines sliced three runs off the deficit in their next at-bat, but Freeman put the contest out of reach by adding eight more runs over the final two innings.
âAlbert has been hot at the plate and heâs such a leader on this team, it really hurt us to lose him,â Head Coach Rich Warin said. âBut the guys really bucked up and we still had a shot up until those last two innings.â
Stocked with seniors, the Scotties took advantage of six base-on-balls and pounded out 13 hits and 14 RBIs against six Wolveirne pitchers. Friday Harbor managed six base hits and committed -- uncharacteristically â an equal number of errors.
âNerves, the heat and stiff competition got to us some,â Warin said. âBut theyâre a really good team.â
Against Connell, Ochoa scattered seven hits and struck out 13 would-be Eagle hitters in earning the opening-round win, his 12th of the season. Juniors Michael Sandifer, Jordan Nash and Knowles scored two runs with back-to-back-to-back hits and the Wolverines led 3-0 after three as Strasser drove in Knowles with a sacrifice fly.
Without a senior in the lineup, Friday Harbor, at 17-0, posted its first undefeated regular-season during Warinâs 14 years at the helm. They finished the season as a No. 8 team at State and earned their third consecutive Northwest 1A/2B League title. And the future looks bright.
âEverybodyâs back next year.âContact Journal of the San Juans Editor Scott Rasmussen at email@example.com or 1-360-378-5696.