A brief and emotional pre-game ceremony Wednesday set the mood for South Whidbey baseball’s final home game of the season, a 5-1 win over King’s.
The Falcons’ five seniors all took the field and played the whole match, a small departure from the usual lineup this season. Each one had a moment to star, separate from their introduction announcement and presentation with their parents. When it came time for head coach Tom Fallon to introduce his son, Trent Fallon, the words got stuck in his mouth as he choked up with tears.
“It was a great senior day,” Fallon said.
South Whidbey played slow and steady, scoring each inning except the fifth, getting a pair of runs with two outs and stranding several King’s runners in scoring position.
“You really couldn’t have drawn it up any better; two-out RBI and throwing guys out at the plate,” Fallon said.
King’s looked poised to sour South Whidbey’s senior day. In the first inning, the leadoff batter knocked a hard-hit grounder to Falcon shortstop Ricky Muzzy, who bobbled the ball and wasn’t able to get the out. The next hitter ripped a line drive that just slipped out of second baseman Connor Antich’s glove as he dove for it, rolling into left field.
With two on, Falcon senior Mo Hamsa got the next hitter to fly out to deep right field. Campbell Albertsen, a senior, caught the high fly ball and launched the ball to home plate where Falcon senior catcher Brent Piehler tagged out the runner for the double play.
“That was a huge momentum turner,” Fallon said.
“That was just textbook where he set up, he got behind the ball, got the ball and sent it home.”
South Whidbey took a lead it would not relinquish in the first inning. Muzzy led off with a double to the center-field fence. A grounder by Antich moved Muzzy to third, and he was brought home by a single to shallow center by Hamsa, his only hit on the day.
In the second inning, sophomore Will Simms scored off a two-out single to center field by Albertsen.
“If we can continue to do that we’re going to be pretty tough,” Fallon said. “To get those clutch hits, it’s a backbreaker for the defense and pumps up the offense.”
Hamsa fanned two batters after beaning one to close the top of the third. Antich led with a single to shallow right-center field. With two outs, Trent Fallon brought him around with a single to left-center field.
South Whidbey jumped ahead further in the fourth inning. Isaac Sullivan knocked a single to shallow right field and had Josiah Colby pinch run. Colby stole second and reached third on a fielder’s choice by Albertsen. With two outs, Muzzy’s grounder to the shortstop was bobbled, allowing Colby to score and Muzzy to reach first. Muzzy scored after stealing second and taking third on the overthrow, when Antich hit an infield single and beat the throw.
King’s got on the board in the sixth with a grounder to the shortstop that brought home Knight junior Jack Kennelly. Hamsa got out of the inning and stranded a runner on first with another strikeout.
In the seventh, Fallon relieved Hamsa on the mound. He gave up a leadoff line-drive single to center field, but got the next three batters to ground out; not a bad outing for his first time pitching this season after recovering from a preseason knee injury.
He really pitched well for having basically one leg, Fallon said.