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Falcons pull out rabbits for win

"Photo: Falcon third baseman Tristan Johnson fields a throw that arrives a bit behind the Nooksack Valley runner.Jim Larsen/staff photoBox ScoreSouth Whidbey 1-0-0-1-0-3-0 -- 5Nooksack Valley 0-0-0-1-0-3-0 -- 4SW: 12 hits, 1 errorNV: 6 hits, 0 errorsKevin Arndt started Wednesday's baseball game with a team record-setting sixth home run, but the real excitement came much later for South Whidbey fans.Arndt's first inning blast gave the Falcons a one-run edge that lasted until the fourth, when Nooksack Valley tied the score. Then the Pioneers took a 4-1 lead with a trio of runs in the sixth.That's when Falcon coach Bill Patterson started to wonder about magic, because his team almost miraculously kept the Pioneers from getting more. The Pioneers still had the bases loaded with only one out when Patterson called in Brady Switzer to pitch, replacing Jesse Sitton who had taken over for Chris Patterson who entered in the fourth, replacing starter Jimmy Davis.Switzer threw a passed ball that caromed off the concrete foot of the backstop and back to catcher Jimmy Berto, who tagged the bag to put out the surprised Pioneer runner. Switzer induced the next batter to pop out, and the inning ended.That was the first rabbit out of the hat, said Patterson. The Falcons responded with two runs of their own in the sixth thanks to a clutch two-RBI hit by Brian Gabelein.The next rabbit trick came in the seventh when the Pioneers loaded the bases again with one out. Patterson continued the parade of pitchers by bringing in Tristan Johnson who got the first batter to pop out and then watched as left fielder Nick Lamb hauled down a long drive with his back to the fence, ending the threat.Down 4-3 in the final inning, Switzer led off for the Falcons and singled. Arndt stepped to the plate and didn't end it with another homer. He only doubled with a line drive off the left field fence. Lamb was then intentionally walked to load the bases, then Jimmy Davis slapped a 0-2 pitch to center to score Switzer and tie the game. The Pioneer center fielder had thrown out two Falcons earlier in the game so Patterson held Arndt at third.Up to the plate stepped Jesse Sitton. With both the infield and outfield drawn in to prevent the winning run, Sitton launched a long fly over the right fielder's head. Nobody gave chase, Arndt scored, and Sitton was credited with a game-winning single.There was joy in Mudville, said Patterson.Nooksack, a good team which has spent the year playing the top echelon of the North Cascades League, dropped to 2-8 in league play, while South Whidbey improved to 6-6."

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