Winning becomes contagious

The Mount Si High School baseball team has become white-hot after a tough start to the season.

The Mount Si High School baseball team has become white-hot after a tough start to the season.

Mount Si opened last week with a victory over Sammamish. The Wildcats used strong efforts in all facets of the game to record a 3-0 win in a game that was called after six innings due to lightning near the field at Sammamish High School in Bellevue.

Taylor Campbell pitched a one-hit shutout, striking out six. Frank Tassara and Danny Cavanaugh had great days offensively; Tassara went 3-3 with a run batted in, and Cavanaugh added a pair of hits of his own. Mount Si also showed some speed, with eight stolen bases. Of those, three of them were by Rossco Castagno.

The win was their first of the season, and the first for new head coach Chaz Carr.

The Wildcats returned home for a makeup game last Tuesday, April 1, against the defending state champion Issaquah Eagles. For Tassara, what could have been a difficult challenge instead turned into the finest hour of his young pitching career.

Tassara, a sophomore, fired a no-hitter, his first at the high school level, and struck out 12, as the Wildcats rallied for a 2-1 win in dramatic fashion over the Eagles.

“We battled all day. [Issaquah is] a great team over there, but hats off to Frankie Tassara,” said Mount Si coach Chaz Carr.

The game was very much a pitchers’ duel between Tassara and Issaquah’s Alex DeMarne until the seventh inning. After Tassara walked Issaquah’s Mario Sanelli to open the top of the frame, the Eagles’ Russell Bair sacrifice bunted Sanelli to second for an out. However, Sanelli got caught off the bag at second, and the Wildcats attempted to pick him off at third base. The throw to third sailed wide, allowing Sanelli to score and give Issaquah a 1-0 lead. Tassara did preserve his no-hitter, though, so it was up to the Mount Si bats to keep the special accomplishment from becoming bittersweet.

To open the bottom of the seventh for the Wildcats, Ian Brown walked. Tim Proudfoot then sacrifice bunted Brown to second base; Proudfoot was out at first on the play. Then Cavanaugh came up to hit, and against Eagle reliever Austin O’Neil, the Wildcat sophomore crushed a pitch to the right center field fence for a triple to score Brown and tie the game 1-1.

“I was just looking for a fastball, middle-in, so I could drive it somewhere, and luckily I got that pitch so I just drove it,” Cavanaugh said. Tassara grounded out to second for the second out. Then Zack Robinson came up with all the marbles on the line, and the Mount Si junior delivered, singling up the middle to score Cavanaugh and turn what had been a disappointing defeat into a potentially season-defining victory for scarlet and gray.

Did Tassara feel nervous at all facing the defending champs?

“No, I didn’t. It’s just baseball,” Tassara said, adding that fans should expect more strikeouts and wins from him.

Mount Si continued its winning ways last Wednesday, April 2, as they rallied yet again for a victory, this time on the road at Bellevue. The Wildcats scored four runs in the sixth to take the lead. Then Mount Si pitcher Michael Davenport, making his first appearance of the year, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh to seal a 6-5 nail-biting win over the Wolverines. Blake Hepner’s bases-loaded double was the big hit of the day; that hit scored a pair of runs for Mount Si. Cavanaugh also had two runs batted in.

The Wildcats were scheduled to play at home last Friday, April 4, against league powerhouse Newport, but rains forced a switch of the game to the field at Newport High School. That did not stop scarlet and gray from picking up their fourth straight win. Robinson had two hits, and Cavanaugh had two more RBIs as Mount Si won 6-2. Alex Hiebert pitched a solid five innings to pick up the win.

The Wildcats attempted to make up the previously rained-out home game with nonleague foe Black Hills last Saturday, April 5; however, rains again thwarted their plans. It is not clear if the two teams will attempt yet again to make up that contest, originally scheduled for March 15.

Mount Si is home Thursday, April 10, for a game with Skyline, as they continue a four-game homestand. First pitch is 4 p.m.