Falcons end losing streak with big win over Tigers

LANGLEY — Finally, a win.

Robert Kirby crosses home plate Monday as South Whidbey trounced Granite Falls 7-3 in the first-of-three series at Falcon Field. His double into the left field in the first inning sparked the Falcon batters.

LANGLEY — Finally, a win.

It was a big win and it came just when the Falcon baseball team needed it.

In their first-of-three series with Granite Falls on Monday, the boys pitched and hit their way to a

7-3 victory, ending a 10-game losing streak that had the young team a little down on themselves.

“We’ve been hurting, that’s for sure,” said Falcon third baseman CJ Baker.

“Eventually, things were going to start clicking on all cylinders because even though we’re young, we have a lot of talent,” he added.

On the previous Friday, Baker had thrown a complete game with only two hits but was one-upped by Coupeville’s Alex Evans who allowed only one Falcon hit in the 2-0 loss.

As with so many previous outings, good pitching just wasn’t enough to carry the day against the Wolves and the team was determined to turn things around when the Granite Falls series began.

And so they did — good pitching and potent offense were just what the doctor ordered.

“We were more aggressive at the plate,” Baker said. “It really goes a long way to boosting our confidence level.”

Adam Babcock picked up his second win of the season, going 5 1/3 strong innings before giving the ball to Hunter Rawls to close it out for his first save of the season.

Babcock moved to Whidbey Island from Bellingham this year and has been pitching since he could hold a ball.

“I think the team is starting to pull together,” Babcock said. “It was a good win.”

Rawls came in the sixth with the tying runs aboard in a first and third situation and managed his way out of the jam.

With the runner from first going, South Whidbey’s Robert Kirby cut the ball and gunned the runner from third trying to score at the plate for the second out of the inning. Rawls then struck out the next hitter to end the inning and the Tiger uprising.

Rawls then made it look easy in the seventh, retiring the Tigers in order then striking out the last two hitters to end the game.

Offensively, the Falcons were led by lead off hitter Lucas Yale going 3-for-4 hits on the day with two runs scored and three stolen bases. Nick Tenuta scored two runs.

In the Falcon first inning, Kirby started it off with a one-out double off the left field fence — just inches from a home run. Kirby promptly stole third and scored on a Trapper Rawls single to left. Tenuta got on via an error and stole second and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

The Falcons picked up three runs in the fourth inning as Baker was hit by a pitch to lead the inning off and was followed by Yale’s second of three hits. Tenuta then drove in two runs with a single to left.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Falcons put it out of reach as Yale led off with his third hit of the day and Tenuta got on again thanks to another Granite Falls error. Yale came home on an Eric Sparks single and Tenuta touched the plate after an Aaron Mannie single.

For Tenuta, the key to the win was a no-brainer.

“We got runs early and that got us going,” he said. “That gave us the confidence to follow up with more.”

The coach noted that the next two games might be more of a challenge.

“I’m not certain we saw the Tigers’ best pitching today,” Falcon coach Dave Guetlin said. “But we’ll take it.”

“After, I told them to remember the moment, remember what it feels like so they can do it again. Don’t settle for one good game,” he said.

The coach noted the defense played very well and has shown significant improvement since the season started.

“Always lots of room to get better, though.”

They’ll get their chance at Granite Falls today, then at 4 p.m. Friday, April 11 at Falcon Field.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sport@south

whidbeyrecord.com.

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