One down, two to go.
The South Whidbey High School baseball team opened a three-game, championship-deciding series with Cedar Park Christian with a 3-0 win Monday, April 22, in Langley.
The Falcons need to sweep the series to claim the pennant. The teams play again at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Langley and 4 p.m. Friday at Marymoor Park.
The series also showcases two of highest ranked 1A teams in the state. Cedar Park Christian (12-1, 16-2) was listed third and South Whidbey (11-2, 16-2) fourth in the latest Washington Baseball Poll.
The Falcons snapped the Eagles’ 16-game win streak with the win Monday.
The game featured a gutty pitching performance by South Whidbey’s Ethan Petty and an opportunistic offense.
Petty allowed only one hit, a fifth-inning single, in six innings of work. He, however, uncharacteristically issued eight walks and had to pitch out of trouble throughout the game.
The Eagles had two base runners in each of the first five innings.
“I had trouble getting a good grip,” Petty said after the game, which was played in cold, wet weather.
The constant traffic didn’t fluster the junior right-hander.
“I’m pretty even keeled,” he said. “I just focused in a little more when I had runners on base.”
Coach Tom Fallon agreed: “He was in trouble the whole time, but there was no panic. He trusted his defense.”
Petty struck out four.
Brent Batchelor picked up the save, pitching a 1-2-3 seventh with one strikeout against the top of Cedar Park Christian’s order.
The Falcons scored two runs in the first inning, one in the second and then held on.
Alex Black led off the game with a walk and Drew Fry singled. Kody Newman put down a sacrifice bunt, and then Batchelor plated Black with a squeeze bunt. Fry scored on a wild pitch.
In the second, Nick Black reached first when the Eagle catcher could not hold on to strike three. Black went to second on Luke Rookstool’s ground out and scored on Alex Black’s single.
South Whidbey produced only four base runners after the second inning against CPC’s Brandon McClean, who pitched a five-hitter with eight strikeouts and three walks.
Fry finished with two of the hits; Dexter Jokinen, Alex Black and Nick Black all singled.
“What a difference from last year,” Fallon said, noting how his club handled the pressure of Monday’s contest. Most of this year’s lineup started last year as well when they were sophomores and freshmen, suffering through growing pains of a 10-13 season.