A tense game was blown wide open in the fifth inning, when Cedarcrest took a one-run lead and held on to beat South Whidbey 3-2 Tuesday.
South Whidbey is still looking for its first win of the season.
The Red Wolves swept the series in a makeup game playing as the home team despite being at South Whidbey High School. For much of the match, the Red Wolves played catch-up.
South Whidbey jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning and kept Cedarcrest away from home plate, despite a couple of close calls.
Speed played a big factor in South Whidbey’s offense. The Falcons got their first run after junior shortstop Ricky Muzzy reached first on a full-count walk, took second on a passed ball, stole third and scored on another passed ball. Brent Piehler, the Falcons’ senior catcher, took four balls to get on first base. He stole second to get in scoring position and was brought home by a Mo Hamsa RBI single back up the middle.
From there, South Whidbey’s defense held tight in the face of a few Cedarcrest scoring opportunities. In the second inning, the Red Wolves opened with a double by Tanner Schaefer into right field. But Falcon junior pitcher Charlie Patterson kept the runner stranded with a strikeout, a short grounder back to the mound and another strikeout.
The Red Wolves looked poised to make their mark in the fourth. After a couple of walks, an infield single loaded the bases. South Whidbey’s defense turned a double play after Patterson fielded a grounder to the mound, threw out the runner at home, from which Piehler threw out the batter at first.
Runners were still in scoring position with two outs, and a passed ball led to Schaefer scoring. A groundout to second baseman Connor Antich ended the dangerous inning with South Whidbey clinging to a one-run lead.
South Whidbey gave Cedarcrest a thrill in the fifth inning. Antich opened with a double to left field that dropped just in front of the fielder and hopped past him. Still, Antich had to dive under the tag to safely reach second. An errant pitch drilled Patterson’s leg, sending him to first base. Muzzy flied out to right field. Piehler was patient at the plate, getting walked to load the bases. Hamsa hit a low pop fly back to the pitcher that looked like it might drop just near the first base line, but the pitcher caught it and caught Piehler too far off the bag for a double play.
Cedarcrest jumped at its chance with the next go at the plate. Cody Banks reached first on a walk. Aaron Davenport drilled a line drive to center. A flyout to shallow right field was tracked down by Antich to hold both runners. A full-count walk loaded the bases again. Schaefer knocked a two-RBI single between third base and the shortstop. A passed ball moved both runners into scoring position before a groundout by Jacob Jewell ended the inning.
In the sixth, Muzzy took the mound for two groundouts, a walk and a single. The Falcons caught Ben Lemery too far from first base, and Piehler made him pay after a quick tag by Hamsa.
Heading into the final frame, the Falcons had their best shot to at least tie the game with the top of their lineup set to hit. Antich’s line drive was caught in right field, followed by Patterson’s line drive at the second baseman’s shoes and a deep flyout by Muzzy to right field.