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Great pitching marks Falcon baseball games

"South Whidbey was on opposite ends of outstanding pitching performances over the last two baseball games.Friday at home the Falcons beat Mount Baker 3-1 on sparkling starting pitching by Tristan Johnson and gutsy relief pitching by Brian Gabelein.The Falcon offense staked the team to a 2-0 lead in the third inning when Jesse Sitton doubled, scoring Lai Saephan and Kevin Arndt, both of whom had singled.Johnson, who spends most of his time catching, did fine on the throwing end of the ball, holding the Mountaineers to one run over the first five innings. But in the top of the sixth he tired and ran into trouble.Johnson loaded the bases on a single and two walks, then threw two balls to the next batter. Then, coach Bill Patterson boldly removed him from the game and went with reliever Brian Gabelein. It wasn't the best time to make a pitching move, Patterson admitted.But Gabelein made the move work by not letting the bases loaded, 0-2 count situation worry him. He threw two strikes and then got the third out on a lazy fly to center fielder Saephan.He did a nice job, said Patterson.In the bottom of the sixth, the Falcons added an insurance run when Karl Noste singled home Jimmy Davis, who had walked.In the seventh, Gabelein surrendered a lead-off double but then retired the side and assured the victory on two ground outs and another ambitionless fly.Monday, the Falcons could do little but watch as Mount Baker turned the tables with outstanding pitching of its own. Mountaineer Josh Zinder held the Falcons hitless as his team cruised to a 10-0 win on their home field.Jesse Sitton started for South Whidbey and kept the game scoreless going into the fourth. But then the Falcon defense collapsed. Patterson said the hitters were frustrated by Zinder. We couldn't get the ball out of the infield, he said. Then the frustration showed up in defense. The tide turned when, with the bases loaded, a dribbler in front of the plate that should have been a double play was thrown into right field. Patterson said the game marked his team's first long bus ride to play a Whatcom County team. We travel like nitroglycerin, he said.The Falcons have this week off. Next week they take their 4-6 conference record to Nooksack Valley on Monday."

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