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'Cats make it to playoffs
Mount Si varsity baseball, after a disappointing 1999 season, has
come back and made the state playoffs. To get there they had to get
through league rival Liberty (14-4), a team that was on a three-game winning
streak. The `Cats, who seem to have the talent, are never a sure win or loss;
and in this case, they came from behind to get the win, 5-3.
It was a bad day for Tyler Green of the Patriots as he gave up
four Mount Si hits in the first two innings. Matt Murphy and David LaBelle
led the offensive efforts early, driving in a run each to allow Mount Si a
2-0 lead at the end of the first inning. Then, in the second, Marc Dahm blasted
a two-run single scoring Josh Serrick and Tyler Osborn.
Liberty answered with two of their own in the third but the `Cats
weren't finished. In the sixth inning, Serrick led off with a base hit to right field.
Osborn singled to third, forcing Serrick out at second.
Realizing that Osborn is quick enough to easily steal second, the
Liberty pitcher tried to pick him off at first, throwing wildly past the
first baseman. The errant throw allowed Osborn to scramble to third.
With Osborn ready to score, Sean Sattler launched a mammoth sacrifice fly
to center field, scoring the last run of the game.
"Our pitchers did an outstanding job for us," said coach
Gary McGregor. "They kept Liberty off balance with off-speed pitches
and kept us in the game," he added. "I
think they threw about 69 strikes out of the total of 79 pitches. Mike Dahm,
Sean Sattler and Bryce Kaestner are to be congratulated."
"Sean came in in the fourth inning and only allowed two hits and
Bryce pitched an outstanding seventh inning to earn the save."
But pitching wasn't all that impressed McGregor. "Tyler
Osborn made a great running catch in right center that I thought was a sure
double in the second inning. I think that catch sparked our defense a little; we
played very good D from there on," continued McGregor.
McGregor was obviously proud of the effort his team put forth against
a tough team. "Matt Murphy was pressed into the catcher's role
because David LaBelle was not at 100 percent. He had a bout of the flu for
several days. Murphy was outstanding behind the plate," commented McGregor.
Winning against the Patriots moved the `Cats into the double
elimination KingCo playoffs. Their first opponent was league-leading
Skyline with a record of 18 wins, 3 losses. The game would be a tough lesson for
the Mount Si pitching staff, though, as the Spartans rocked three different
Mount Si pitchers for nine runs. Mount Si faced Jim Radovich (5-1) on
the mound for Skyline. Radovich gave up three walks in four innings and at
one point had the bases loaded for Mount Si. But the `Cats couldn't
capitalize and scored their only run in the sixth inning when Matt Poth scored
Steve Botulinski on a single.
On the mound initially for Mount Si was Brent Clarke who
struggled with placement for 3.1 innings. He gave up six runs, five of which
were earned, five hits, three walks and recorded two strikeouts. Kaestner
came on in relief in the fourth but quickly gave up three runs, all of which
were earned, four hits and one walk. Nick Harpel came in to finish the job in
the fifth and only gave up one hit, one walk and recorded one strike out.
"We came out a little flat and got down by three in the first,"
said McGregor. "We only had four hits but we had opportunities to score in
several innings," he continued. "We put the ball in play and made them
work for it," he added.
The loss forced Mount Si into a loser-out game with Newport
at Bannerwood park last Saturday. Unfortunately for Mount Si, Newport
was ready and trounced the `Cats in five innings, 11-1.
Mount Si's only score came in the first inning when Murphy singled
to center, scoring Mike Dahm. The Wildcats only recorded three runs
with Mike Dahm getting two and Murphy getting one.
But who would have thought a team that had only won three
games all season in 1999 would make the KingCo playoffs.
"Our players should be proud of the season they had,"
commented coach McGregor. "We only won six league games but finished fifth and
got a playoff spot. The playoffs were a team goal for this year after
missing out last year and being picked by the league coaches to finish last. We
have several talented players coming back next year, and if they work hard
during the fall and winter preparing, I think we can break into the top
three in the league," he added.
But several players wore the Wildcat uniform for the last time. "We
are going to miss our seniors, Joey Adams, Nick Roeber and Murphy," he said.
"I wish them success and hope they learned a little more from their
MSHS baseball experience than just baseball," he added.
Sean Sattler made the 3A KingCo All League selection list as a
utility player with Murphy, Adams and Aaron Svarthumle getting