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Falcons secure first-ever Archbishop Wildcat sweep
Brooms were out in full force as South Whidbey baseball swept Archbishop Murphy for the first time after a 2-0, combined no-hitter victory April 25 in front of a home crowd.
“For us and for the program, that was just a huge series,” said Falcon head coach Tom Fallon.
“Going into the season, I knew the league was going to be very, very competitive,” he added.
Players celebrated only briefly before being corralled by Fallon for postgame handshakes with the Wildcats — a sign of sportsmanship Fallon emphasizes with South Whidbey, win or lose. Since the Wildcats joined the Cascade Conference in 2004, the Falcons had not won all three games in a season series until this year. After looking through the Falcon baseball records, Fallon said the last time South Whidbey defeated Archbishop Murphy was in 2008.
“Sometimes it’s hard for those teenage kids to control their emotions,” he said.
The Falcons used a bit of small ball in the fifth inning. Mo Hamsa, a Falcon junior, got on base with a single. Trent Fallon, a junior, laid down a bunt to move Hamsa to second base — scoring position. With two outs, senior CJ Sutfin knocked a line drive that brought Hamsa home for the first score.
Pitcher Charlie Patterson guided the Falcons through the fifth inning before being relieved by senior Colton Sterba in the sixth inning. With a runner on base, Sterba got one batter to knock into fielder’s choice for the first out and then recorded a 1-6-3 double play to keep Archbishop Murphy scoreless.
Sterba, who went 2-for-3 with a RBI, hit a two-out, RBI single that drove home junior Brent Piehler to pad their lead in the bottom of the sixth.
The senior ended up finishing the game with a strikeout, nearly closing the series the way it began: with Sterba on the mound, fanning a Wildcat batter.
South Whidbey had taken the series after a 5-4 victory Wednesday at Archbishop Murphy High School. The Falcons led much of the game after scoring two runs in the second inning. Piehler and senior Nick Bennett were on base with singles until Hamsa drove them in with a two RBI double.
The Wildcats tied the game after a run in the fourth and one in the fifth.
South Whidbey took the lead for good with three runs in the sixth inning. Ricky Muzzy, a sophomore, started with a single. Patterson laid down a bunt and reached base safely. Piehler, who went 2-for-3 at the plate, drove Muzzy home with a RBI single. Bennett, who hit 3-for-3, scored Patterson on a single.
Archbishop Murphy drew close with two more runs in the sixth inning, but South Whidbey held them at bay for the victory.
“It was a squeaker,” Fallon said.
Another close call befell the Falcons on Monday as they visited Granite Falls to take on the Tigers, who won 4-3 in an extra-inning game.
South Whidbey scored three runs in the second inning — a strong start in Fallon’s opinion — and tallied nine hits and six walks total. But the Falcons struggled the rest of the game bringing home base runnners.
“It was one of those just painful games where we had opportunity all game long,” Fallon said. “That’s what happens with a good pitcher.”
Granite Falls scored two runs in the sixth inning which tied the game 3-3. The Tigers won the game with a walkoff RBI in the eighth inning.
Playoffs begin next week, but the Falcons’ position is not certain. South Whidbey needs to win one more game to clinch the top seed in the 1A District 1 playoffs because it lost two games to the only other 1A team in the league: Coupeville.
South Whidbey will honor its seniors before the game against Granite Falls at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday.