Falcons set record, head to playoffs

Hard as it may seem, baseball is entering into the playoff phase — at noon Saturday the Falcons travel to Anacortes to play a team yet to be decided in the first round.

The team hoped for a championship season, but it wasn’t to be as their bats stayed mostly silent in three-straight losses to Granite Falls last week.

But there are some highlights — their 14 wins and six losses set a school record and they tied for most consecutive wins (seven).

“We told them how proud we were of their efforts and hard work,” Falcon Coach Dave Guetlin said.

“As young as they are, they turned into a bunch of real overachievers,” he said.

And with the loss of only one starting senior, next year shows signs of promise. Big time.

Still, Logan Hanna will be missed.

“He’s just a bulldog on the mound with a great mental outlook,” Guetlin noted.

But Lakota Holder returns and will be joined by Jason Shoudy, Nick Davis and Joey Smith.

The last regular season game of the year April 28 proved to be the biggest and one of the most costly for the South Whidbey Falcon baseball team.

With Granite Falls and South Whidbey virtually tied for first place in Cascade League action, the Falcons missed the chance for a first-ever championship in baseball by dropping a 7-2 decision, losing three-straight in the final series against the Tigers.

It was a beautiful day at the Falcon diamond for a large, excited crowd to witness a home ballgame and a chance for the championship.

South Whidbey stayed in contention until the sixth inning.

“That’s when the wheels fell off,” Guetlin said. “The Falcons bats continued to be silent throughout the three-game series.”

Holder was excellent on the mound but ran out of gas in the sixth as Tiger hitters used a home run and five singles to pick up five runs and put the game out of reach.

In the bottom of the sixth Smith led off with a triple and was singled home by Holder, who eventually scored on a Davis fly ball to centerfield. Those were the only Falcon runs.

Paul Saelens, Holder, and Smith each had two hits apiece for the Falcons to lead the offense.

The Tigers came in with a team batting average of almost .350 compared to South Whidbey’s .310. But it was pitcher Billy Villegas’ sterling effort on the mound that was the key for the Granite Falls victory.

“The Tigers did a good job,” Guetlin said. “They hit the ball when they needed to. They got hits in bunches and their pitcher was very good.”

“And we just didn’t hit the ball,” he added.

It had been that way all week. Two days earlier at Granite Falls, the game was tied, runners on base and one out.

“They got a freak double play on us,” the coach recalled.

Heading into the playoffs, the Falcons plan on getting respect from bigger schools while earning some solid post-season experience, all while setting the stage for next year.

“We want to make life miserable for anyone we face,” Geutlin said.

Though South Whidbey drops to the 2A classification that won’t make life easy — the range of school population at that level goes from 480 to 921.

“Some of the smaller schools will be playing teams that have double their number to draw on,” Guetlin said. “We can hardly wait.”

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