Sequim rains on Falcon fastpitch winning parade

After a torrential downpour Thursday afternoon, field crews scrambled to squeegee off a steaming South Whidbey home field that later saw steaming competition between the Falcons and visiting Sequim fastpitch team.

The Falcons came into the game off a week-and-a-half hiatus from competition. And despite all practice and no play leaving the Falcons eager for competition, the team was unable to convert any hits into runs in the 0-1 nonconference loss to Sequim. The loss Thursday brought the team’s season record to 19-1.

Up until then, the Falcons hadn’t lost a regular season game in three years. The Falcons still hold onto a four-year record of never losing a conference game. That’s a record of 63-0 in conference play, with the Falcons claiming a 549-35 record in runs against opponents.

The Falcon’s stepped onto the field knowing Sequim would be stiff competition and found that to be true in the form of strong pitching backed by pretty solid defense, said senior first baseman Becky Gabelein.

“We were told not to hang our heads,” Gabelein said postgame. “We played a good game, they just out played us and hit better.”

At the top of the first inning, Falcon senior pitcher Christie Robinson allowed no hits to let the visitors know the game would be no walk in the park.

The Falcons were the first to make contact with the ball during the first inning off a Robinson single, followed by a single from Falcon senior catcher Carolann Lubach. But like much of the baserunning in the game, the play was stifled by a sound Sequim defense which resulted in Lubach being tagged out at second.

Second through fourth innings saw both teams eager to get on base, but any batters that managed bat-to-ball contact were out before they could even think of stepping on first.

Top of the fifth action gave Sequim a gleam of excitement with the first Falcon error of the evening that allowed Seqium runners on base, but solid Robinson pitching brought Sequim’s scoring chances to a close.

“Christie was really pitching well tonight,” Todd Lubach said.

The seventh inning saw Sequim inching closer to homeplate. The play at home was set after a Sequim player doubled and Robinson allowed two walks.Sequim made an outfield hit that allowed the runners to go, but Falcon catcher Lubach was ready for the tag at home.

The eighth inning saw another lull in any base running action with the ninth and tenth just as lackluster in scoring attempts by both teams.

“I just don’t think we gained momentum the entire game,” Lubach said.

But when the 11th inning rolled around, the Falcons might have been hoping the skies hadn’t parted.

Thanks to the rules of international tie breaker, Sequim scored after the freebie tiebreaking runner at second came into home off a single. Costly errors allowed Sequim time and all South Whidbey could do was tag the runner out at first and head into the dugout to prepare their mentality. The Falcons were not able to bring home any runs and Sequim stole their flawless regular season record with a single run win.

Results of the Falcon’s make-or-break loser-out Wesco crossover game against Lynnwood Friday were not available as of press time.

However, Lubach said Thursday that he expected the game against Lynnwood to go well and that it should be a nice step into further post season play.

As far as Thursday’s loss, Gabelein said she and her team mates looked at it with optimism.

“It was out first loss of the season. It might do us some good not to go into conference with too much confidence,” she said. “We’re going into a post season with a lot of focus after something like that.”

After three years, Lubach said locals are assuming the Falcons are heading to state competition, but he wants them to be prepared.

“It’s a whole ‘nother ball game now,” Lubach said. “There’s increased competition and we’re going to have to play good softball to make it through.”

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