Wildcats lose two close ones on baseball diamond

The Mount Si Wildcats baseball team returned home last Tuesday against Liberty and cold bats were the story for both teams in a close contest.

Patriots' pitcher Jeff Hanna gave up just one earned run, on only two hits, as Liberty won 2-1. Hanna struck out five Wildcats.

"Jeff Hanna's doing a great job for us. We threw him into the No. 2 starting role just here this last week. This is his first start of the year. We initially wanted him and had him slated as our closer," said Patriots coach Scott Colby.

Mount Si coach Gary McGregor understands why Hanna is so dominant. "Hanna throws the ball hard, gets the ball up. He throws just a four seam fastball and it looks like a watermelon coming in. A lot of guys were swinging at balls above their hands and when the kid's throwing 85,86, 87 miles per hour, it's hard for a high school kid to catch up," McGregor said.

Mount Si starter Chase Korsmo only gave up two runs on three hits, striking out three, but it was his eight walks which were a point of concern. "Chase has got to throw more strikes," said McGregor. Despite those struggles, Korsmo and the defense behind him got the job done when it counted; Liberty left a total of 14 men on base in the game.

"Today's game mirrors what we've been putting out on the field product-wise so far in Kingco League play. We're keeping the other side of the half-inning clean and we're just struggling to bring runners in," said Colby.

Among the big defensive plays for the Wildcats was one that happened in the top of the fifth. With two out and two runners on, Patriot Ryan Schuh hit a blast to center field which was caught in spectacular fashion by Mount Si's center fielder, senior Erik Alexander. "I saw the ball off the bat right away and I knew it was deep, so I just turned my head and ran, then I knew that I was going to have to find it fast because it was in the sun and when I turned around, I didn't exactly see it, so I got kind of twisted around, but the last second I saw it," Alexander said.

The Wildcats' run was scored in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ian Atkinson singled with two men on to score one of them, but Mount Si could get no closer, as Remo Castagno struck out for the final out of the inning and the game.

Mount Si gave the Issaquah Eagles a battle last Thursday, but it was the Eagles who had the last laugh in a wild 7-6 victory.

Ryan Utesch hit his second home run of the year for the Wildcats in the first inning to put Mount Si on top 2-0, but the Eagles were able to rally against Wildcat pitcher Alexander. Mount Si, trailing 6-3 in the sixth, scored three runs to tie; Utesch again came up big with a two-run single with two out. The single scored Thomas Taylor and Ian Atkinson.

Russell Bair, a sophomore catcher/first baseman for the Eagles, provided the biggest blow of all in the bottom of the sixth; his double with one out scored senior Joe Fike with what would turn out to be the game-winning run.

The Wildcats are at Newport Thursday. Game time is 4 p.m. Look for Atkinson and Zach Solomon to lead the way with the bats in the first half of the season. The pair each hit above 400 to lead Mount Si. Alexander is getting it done on the mound by going 2-1 with nine strikeouts.

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