If South Whidbey baseball needed a test of its capabilities, it received that and more when it squared off against Cedar Park Christian Wednesday afternoon.
Trailing 3-1 against the unbeaten Eagles in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Falcons could ill-afford a scoreless inning. South Whidbey’s bats didn’t let them down.
With two outs and runners on first and second, freshman Carson Wrightson smacked a ball to the left of the Eagles’ pitcher which then bounced over the head of the Eagles’ shortstop before coming to a halt out of the outfielders’ immediate reach. It gave senior Maxfield Friedman enough time to reach home while also putting freshman Drew Fry in scoring position at third base. Senior Connor Antich’s double the following at-bat scored Fry and tied the game at 3.
South Whidbey went on to lose 4-3 after squandering four hits and one run in the seventh, and were unable to answer the Eagles’ score with their turn in the bottom of the final inning. But while the Falcons did not gain in wins on their season record, they instead found an untapped reservoir of composure and resilience, Antich said. The Falcons saw both its upperclassmen and underclassmen perform when they needed it most and Antich believes it will mean something for the Falcons down the road.
“We’re super young and inexperienced, and to see that composure — we’ve just got to bring that focus to every team we play,” Antich said.
The Falcons’ loss dropped the team to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the Cascade Conference. The Eagles improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in league.
South Whidbey entered the game coming off a 14-0 win over King’s on March 20. Against the Eagles, however, the Falcons were held mostly in check until the wild sixth inning. That could be attributed to facing one of the top college prospects in the state in senior right-handed pitcher and Oregon State University commit Michael Attalah, whose only blunder on a chilly and windy day was giving up an RBI single to Falcon senior Maxfield Friedman that scored Antich in the first inning. Attalah pitched four innings and threw eight strikeouts.
“We faced a really tough pitcher, one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the league,” said senior Mitchell Grady. “I felt like we made really good contact with the ball. It was late, but we still got the ball through and we still found a way to get some runs in.”
Grady showed he could hang with the Division I commit by holding the Eagles to only one run through the first four innings.
“I wasn’t looking to dominate or anything, I was just looking to pump the strike zone and help my defense,” Grady said.
The Eagles eventually punched through his defense and the rest of the Falcons with two runs in the top of the fifth. Falcon head coach Tom Fallon said the close loss proves that South Whidbey has what it takes to hang with the league’s best.
“We progressed today with a bunch of young guys,” Fallon said. “It shows that there is a lot of talent on this team, even though they’re really inexperienced. That’s great to see.”
The Falcons played Sultan after The Record’s deadline Friday afternoon. They host Archbishop Murphy at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 27.