They knew the games were going to be tough, but maybe not this tough.
South Whidbey and Granite Falls met for the first two of a three-game series during spring break and the Tigers came out on top, twice.
Last year’s conference champs are 11-0, still hotly chased by the Falcons in second place at 8-3.
“It was a good old fashioned pitchers’ duel all the way,” Falcon Coach Dave Guetlin said of Monday’s outing.
Tiger Jon Pennington went the distance on the hill and Lakota Holder was on the mound for the Falcons.
It was a 0-0 ballgame in the fifth with Holder striking out the side while throwing only four pitches in the second inning. The Falcons lost 2-0.
“It was that kind of a game,” Guetlin said. “Lakota not only turned in a sterling performance on the hill but provided two of the Falcon’s four hits.”
On Wednesday, the Falcons tried everything to even the series but fell short once again.
Again it was a classic pitcher’s duel with Jason Shoudy for the Falcons and Josh Knudson for the Tigers.
With Granite leading by 1-0 going into the sixth inning, both pitchers were on their game as a Falcon miscue had allowed the only run to be scored to that point.
“The guys were not to be denied as Nick Davis was hit by a pitch to lead the inning off for the Falcons,” Guetlin said.
Davis promptly stole second and moved to third on a passed ball.
Danny Parra then singled sharply to right field to tie the game at one each. Nick Tenuta laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Parra to second. The Tigers then intentionally walked Holder and Joey Smith to load the bases for Paul Saelens. Saelens made the Tigers pay for their mistake by lining a first-pitch single to left field to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead.
The Falcons couldn’t close the game down; the Tigers tied with a lead-off homer and two more runs off sacrifice singles for a 4-2 final.
“We hit well but couldn’t find those sweet spots,” Holder said. “This is a team you can’t give a second chance when you have the lead. They’re good.”
CJ Baker agreed.
“I did OK until the seventh when I came up on a ground ball too fast,” Baker said. “We hit well but didn’t catch the breaks the way the Tigers did. We couldn’t hit into the gaps.”
Guetlin told his players he knew they were working hard and it would pay off down the road.
“It’s been a tremendous series between the two top teams in the league even though the Falcons have been on the short end of the stick,” the coach said. “We’re planning to reverse the trend.”
Last night the teams played their last game at Granite Falls. At 4 p.m. Monday, the Falcons welcome Archbishop Murphy to Falcon Field.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.