Though there was plenty at stake, South Whidbey baseball’s win over King’s Monday afternoon was without drama.
The Falcons beat the Knights 5-2, securing the second seed in the 1A bi-district tournament. They also reached 10 wins on the season and thus achieved a primary goal of finishing the season with more wins than losses. South Whidbey improved to 10-7 overall and 8-7 in the Cascade Conference. They’ll wrap the regular season with a pair of games against the Knights and a rescheduled game against North Kitsap.
“There’s not quite as much pressure,” Falcon head coach Tom Fallon said. “We got it done and let’s just play the next two games hard and see where we’re at.”
“You make the outs you’re supposed to make and that’s what we did late in the game. We just made the plays and played fairly clean,” he added.
Falcon senior Charlie Patterson set a new school record for wins in a career — 14 — after throwing eight strikeouts from the mound. It was his sixth win this season. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored at the plate.
Other than a scare in the top of the first inning, where Patterson escaped with the bases loaded, it was smooth sailing for the Falcons. They scored two runs in the bottom of the first, followed by another two in the third. The early lead, coupled with strong infield and outfield defense, alleviated much of the burden on Patterson’s shoulders.
“It’s always nice getting an early lead like that; it’s easy on a pitcher,” Patterson said. “I’m just proud of us getting it out of the way the first day of the series. We’ve already clinched the two-seed, which is big. Now we need to focus on the small things from here on out and continue to improve.”
Falcon junior Austin Sterba returned to the lineup after missing five games due to a shoulder injury. His RBI single capped off the Falcons’ two-run first inning, when he brought Patterson home with a line drive to center field.
“It felt really good,” Sterba said. “Right before that at-bat I told Charlie at third base, ‘I got you.’ I went into the dugout with a smile on my face knowing I did my job.”
“It feels really good to know where we’re at, at this point, and we’re not guessing,” he added.
Also contributing a solid performance at the plate was junior Will Simms, who finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Senior Ricky Muzzy went 2-for-2 with a run scored.
Though Patterson was happy to hear he’d broken the record previously held by Logan Hanna, his focus is set on preparing the Falcons for the best possible outcome for the season.
“It’s cool that a number like that will be around forever; I can leave a little bit of a legacy,” Patterson said. “I’m more concerned about what this team accomplishes this year.”
South Whidbey is in a better position than they were last season, which ended with the Falcons finishing second at the class 1A state championships. The Falcons are currently on a four-game winning streak.
Despite it being near the end of the season, Fallon said the coaching staff is still evaluating the team to ensure the strongest possible unit is on the field. Moving players into positions where they will best serve the team will be a key component in the Falcons’ postseason success, though Fallon is pleased with the current state of the team. He added that the younger players on the team are becoming more and more comfortable on the field, which has been a benefit in tying the team together.
“I like where we’re at right now,” Fallon said. “I think at this point, we’ve made big strides.”
South Whidbey plays at King’s tonight and returns home for senior day at 4 p.m. April 29.