F.H. clinches berth at state

Albert Strasser

Nash and Strasser tally two RBIs, Ochoa tosses four-hitter

The Friday Harbor baseball team punched its ticket to the State 1A Baseball Tournament with a 4-2 victory over Orting in the final round of the Northwest District playoffs, Saturday at Stanwood.

With the win, the Wolverines also avenged being ousted from post-season play last year by Orting, which scored one run in the final inning to snap a 6-6 tie and clinch a slot at state.

This time around, it was Friday Harbor (20-2) that turned the tables on the Cardinals.

Trailing 2-1 in the fourth inning, starting catcher Albert Strasser knotted the score by driving in Richie Ochoa with the first of his two RBIs in the contest. Strasser and shortstop Jordan Nash each tallied their second RBI of the game in the next at-bat as the Wolverines rallied for two more runs, grabbed a 4-2 edge and never looked back.

The Wolverines had eight base hits, four RBIs and tallied six walks in the game.

“We weren’t that sharp at the start but the guys hung in there and turned it on as the game went on,” Head Coach Rich Warin said. “Ryan (Aylward) made a great running catch in left center with runners on in the first inning that kept us in the game.”

With Aylward’s catch a notable exception, the Wolverines were shaky in the field early on. But on the mound, Ochoa was dialed in from the first pitch.

The hard-throwing southpaw scattered four hits and struck out 10 over seven innings in earning the win without giving up a walk. He slammed the door on the Cardinals in the final inning by striking out the side.

“Richie had a great day on the mound,” Warin said.

The Cardinals scored a pair of “unearned” runs in the third inning thanks to a Friday Harbor fielding error and grab a 2-0 lead.

But the Wolverines bounced back in the bottom half of the inning. Freshman Roy Taylor, who led off with a single, scored the team’s first run after Cardinal pitcher Nickolas Wilkins gave up three consecutive base-on-balls. Friday Harbor scored three more runs over the next two innings to clinch its eighth appearance at State in the past nine years.

Beginning Saturday, 16 teams will compete for the 1A state title in a single-elimination format. Eight games take place at four regional locations in the opening round, including Daniels Field in Anacortes.

The Wolverines will travel to Moses Lake to face Connell in the opening round at Larson Field, game time is 10 a.m.

May 7

Bellevue Christian 2

Friday Harbor 0

Friday Harbor was shutout for the first time this season in a 2-0 loss to Bellevue Christian in the qualifying rounds of the Northwest regional playoffs May 7 in Sammanish.

The loss forced the Wolverines into a loser-out showdown against Orting, the Nisqually League 1A champion.