The loss was nearly in the books for South Whidbey baseball.
Trailing Cedarcrest 9-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs on April 13, the Falcons were on the edge of defeat for the second time against the Wolves. Instead of the eight-run comeback they made in a 13-9 defeat on the Red Wolves’ turf on April 11, they now faced another loss, but without the satisfaction of having crawled back into contention.
Their only hope was that Cedarcrest’s star pitcher, junior Aaron Davenport, would deplete his allotted amount of pitches and force the Red Wolves to send a new pitcher on from the bench. A new rule implemented this year by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association places limitations on the number of throws a pitcher can make.
Despite being one foul ball or strikeout away from going home empty-handed, Falcons Taylor Brown, Connor Antich and Drew Fry advanced to load the bases. Davenport used his last pitch on Falcon sophomore Jon Bartel, then exited the game.
The Falcons executed exactly what they hoped to when Davenport departed, and scored eight runs in the seventh inning to tie the game. Freshman Carson Wrightson, who hit the Falcons’ first homer of the season against King’s on April 10, threw two scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth innings. In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Falcons loaded the base and had no outs. Brown drew a walk to score Sterba and secure the Falcons’ 10-9 victory.
“It was crazy,” Fallon said. “That’s pretty improbable. But, that’s baseball.”
With its 3-2 win over Granite Falls on Monday, the Falcons have improved to 7-7 overall and 6-6 in the Cascade Conference. Cedarcrest, the state runner-ups in the 2016 class 2A state baseball championships, are 5-9 overall and 3-6 in league.
Four of the Falcons’ eight runs in the seventh inning came on wild pitches and speed on the Falcons’ part to reach home base. Simms and senior Austin Sterba batted in single runs while senior Dylan Woodward’s double RBI closed the gap to 9-8. Fry, a freshman, scored the tying run on a wild pitch.
Following Wrightson’s unblemished performance from the mound, the Falcons drew two walks and a hit to load the bases. South Whidbey won the game on a walkoff walk.
The Falcons’ final home game of the season and senior day is at 1 p.m. on Saturday against La Conner.