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Simply perfect | Pair of pitchers combine for flawless game
Tom Fallon would have struggled to script a better start to the South Whidbey baseball team’s postseason than the five-inning, 10-0 win over Blaine on Tuesday.
The Falcons made quick work in dispatching the Borderites to the consolation bracket in the 1A District 1 tournament. Games last seven innings, but a 10-run mercy rule ended the bout early thanks to stellar pitching from senior Colton Sterba and junior Charlie Patterson. The pitching duo combined for a perfect game — no hits, no walks, no errors and no runs scored — with Sterba striking out four batters in three innings and Patterson fanning two. Having thrown less than 50 pitches, Fallon thought both Sterba and Patterson should have plenty of arm strength and rest to throw the rest of the district playoffs.
Sterba was calm and collected after he accomplished a major feat in the baseball world and ended his high school playing career at South Whidbey High School’s baseball field.
“We kind of expected that we would win this game, but we didn’t expect it would be so crisp and clean,” he said. “That was good.”
“Once I had confidence in my defense, I was able to throw it over the plate, no worries,” he added.
That steely demeanor worked for him on the pitching mound. From the onset, Sterba’s control was on point, or as he described it, “throwing strikes.” He got one strikeout in the first inning, which also saw South Whidbey take the lead it would not relinquish.
Ricky Muzzy, a sophomore, knocked a double into the outfield to lead off the game. Sterba brought him home on a RBI single up the middle of the infield. That was all the scoring they needed, though more followed.
After a quick 1-2-3 top of the second inning, including a pair of strikeouts for Sterba, the Falcons tacked on four more runs. The scoring rally happened with two outs and loaded bases. Sterba drilled a line drive to deep left-center field that scored two runs. Brent Piehler followed with a two-run shot to shallow right field.
South Whidbey’s no-hitter seemed to be at risk in the third inning. Blaine sophomore Jared Vogee ripped a shot to right-center field, but Falcon senior Jake Sladky ran it down for the out.
By the fourth inning, South Whidbey held a 6-0 lead and was four runs and a few outs from finishing the playoff game early. The Falcons started with a pair of pop flies by Piehler and senior Nick Bennett. Kings of the two-out rally this season, the Falcons found their spots against Borderite pitcher Myles Peltier. An earlier error on a fly ball hit by Sterba had put a runner on first base, and a passed ball moved him to second. Mo Hamsa knocked a single that brought in Sterba. A fielder’s choice by Sladky let both runners reach base safely. CJ Sutfin, a senior, pulled a single past the third baseman to bring in Hamsa and load the bases.
Blaine made a pitching change and put Vogee on the mound. He hit Falcon junior Trent Fallon, scoring a run. Muzzy pulled a two RBI single by the drawn-in third baseman to put South Whidbey ahead 10-0.
“It’s more about the energy of the team and the way things are going,” Muzzy said. “[Assistant coach Bill] Patterson calls it fast-break offense.”
In the fifth inning, Charlie Patterson closed the door on the Borderites with a strikeout, a fly out, and a ground out.
South Whidbey was scheduled to play Friday Harbor at Meridian High School on Thursday, but the game was rained out and rescheduled for Friday, after The Record went to press.