Late rallies swing in Wildcats’ favor, keep Falcons winless

Falcon shortstop Taylor Todd waits for the ball as Wildcat third baseman Eric Lawson steals second base on Monday.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Falcon shortstop Taylor Todd waits for the ball as Wildcat third baseman Eric Lawson steals second base on Monday.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

LANGLEY — The South Whidbey baseball team got its late rally.

Only, Archbishop Murphy had a later one. The Wildcats rode a three-run lead for six innings, and added four more in their final at-bat to beat the Falcons 7-3 on Monday afternoon.

“It kind of stings,” said Falcon senior pitcher Cameron Wildes. “The end of the game and everyone’s counting on me to do my job. And I just frankly didn’t perform.”

It took six innings before the Falcon batters strung together enough hits to tie a three-run deficit. However, the lead couldn’t be kept as Wildes gave up four runs on two walks, one hit and one error in the last inning. Falcon head coach Jeff Hodson stepped onto the field and met with Wildes and catcher Aaron Curfman after the first run, and decided to leave him in. No other Falcon pitchers even warmed up, and it was a decision Hodson stood by.

“He pitched a good game. I have no regrets on that,” Hodson said of Wildes, who threw two strikeouts against eight hits and four walks.

“I’ll go with Cameron. He’s come through for us before.”

The first outing in the three-game series was controlled by the Wildcats early. In the first inning, the Wildcats’ second batter Eric Lawson blasted a home run over the left-center fence that brought home Trevor Morrison. Archbishop Murphy put two more runners on base on a fielding error by Falcon third baseman Spencer Koszarek and a single up the middle by Wildcat Cole Grant.

Wildcat pitcher Levi MaVorhis pitched two perfect innings to keep the Falcons at bay. He struck out four of the first six Falcon batters, got a pop fly and an infield grounder.

“They went ahead and attacked one of the best pitchers in the league,” said Wildcat head coach Stan Taloff of the Falcons.

“Luckily for us Levi kept his pitch count down and was able to finish it off for us.”

Archbishop Murphy padded its lead to 3-0 in the second inning. With two outs, the Wildcats leadoff man hit a single to right field, stole second and scored on a line drive single over Falcon shortstop Taylor Todd.

South Whidbey finally got on the scoreboard in third inning. With two outs and Montana Johnson on first base, senior Michael Agate crushed a double to the center field fence. The next batter, Falcon sophomore Jack Lewis, slapped a single through first base that drove in Johnson.

Agate provided a momentum lift from the field in the fourth inning. The Wildcats’ ninth batter, Patrick Spak, drilled a line drive to left-center field and was turning to second base when Agate dove to catch the ball.

“I was running on so much adrenaline in this game that I was just going to get there no matter what,” Agate said.

Lewis, who was two for three at the plate, started the sixth inning with a double to deep right-center field. Falcon junior catcher Aaron Curfman worked through a full count to walk. Wildes ripped a double to the left field fence that scored Lewis and Curfman and sent the Falcon dugout and bleachers into a frenzy. After a previous loss to Lakewood, Wildes said the Falcons’ batting needed a big-time hit to turn the corner. The Falcons’ sixth-inning rally against the Wildcats seemed to be that moment, Wildes said.

“Our last few games, we’re out of that dry spell with no hits,” he said.

“People are always scared of Archbishop, like they’re the untouchables in sports. We just showed we can bring it to them.”

Archbishop Murphy rallied in its final at bat and scored four more runs. Wildes walked Lawson, who stole second base on a passed ball. That set up the go-ahead run by Alex Galgano whose single to left field scored Lawson from second. Another walk put MaVorhis on first. The Wildcats called for a bunt that Zander Clouse dropped toward third base to load the bases. Grant hit a fielder’s choice that scored Galgano. Wildcat reserve Cam Buchanan came in to bat and hit a grounder that scored MaVorhis. Talor Okada, the Wildcats’ designated hitter, pulled a grounder to Koszarek at third that hopped over his glove and scored Clouse. Wildes got out of the inning on a Spak pop fly to center field.

MaVorhis closed the game with three strikeouts and tallied 10 total against five hits and one walk. The rivalry South Whidbey has experienced with the perennial conference favorite Archbishop Murphy was magnified by the perceived defection of MaVorhis, a South Whidbey resident, to the Wildcats.

“Levi actually lives here, so there was a chip on our shoulder for that,” Agate said. “He came right after you: good fastball, good breaking ball that kept you off balance.”

Leaders of the winless Falcon squad knew they had a difficult start to the schedule. After an 0-8 record through the first few weeks of the season, Hodson said his team’s spirit was intact. The Falcons looked forward to facing the Wildcats again Wednesday and Friday.

“Getting through Archbishop this week, I want to give them a battle each game but I want to get through them with our morale up,” he said.

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