Baseball pitching rises to the challenge

"South Whidbey prevailed in an island battle for baseball bragging rights at Coupeville Wednesday afternoon.The non-league encounter between the Falcons and the Wolves ended with the visitors prevailing 3-1.The game climaxed dramatically with Coupeville's cleanup hitter Caden Russell watching a called third strike streak past his knees. The perfect pitch was thrown by Falcon Jessie Sitton, who was facing a bases loaded, full count situation.Coupeville fans, naturally, saw the last strike differently. Their fans threw fruit at the umpire, said Bill Patterson, Falcon coach, figuratively describing the reaction in the stands.Patterson said he wanted to save Sitton's arm for another day, but he brought him to the mound from shortstop in the ninth to save the game. This is the type of game we may not have won last year, Patterson said, commending his young team for playing solid defense and pitching well under pressure.The Falcons manufactured their three runs. In the first Karl Noste's fielder's choice drove in Brian Kelley who was running for the pitcher (pinch runners are allowed for pitchers and catchers without removing them from the game). In the third, Sitton hit a long fly ball that scored Kevin Arndt, who reached second on an opposite-field double. In the third, a squeeze bunt by Noste sent Jimmy Davis across the plate.Davis and Arndt led the offense with two hits each.Davis started on the mound, going four innings while giving up only one run on two hits while striking out eight. Brian Gabelein made his pitching debut in the fifth. He went two innings, giving up no runs and fanning two. Arndt entered in the seventh, and a couple of walks resulted in the jam that brought in Sitton.The win evened South Whidbey's early season record to 1-1. In their debut last Friday the 2A Falcons they were hammered 18-0 by Stanwood, one of the area's top 3A teams. Patterson said walks helped Stanwood's offense, but they were the superior team. Now we know how George Custer felt, he said.On Monday the Falcons make their home debut against the Everett Seagulls at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday they're scheduled to begin North Cascades League competition at Granite Falls."

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