BELLEVUE – With limited opportunities, Juanita backup catcher Zach Johanson knew he must make the most of his big chance.
The Rebels’ baseball season effectively came down to his at-bat. Johanson, despite being 3 for 10 in limited playing time this season, made the difference as a late-inning substitute.
Johanson, a left-handed hitter, bashed a two-out, bases-loaded single through the hole into left field to score Andy Cosgrove in the bottom of the eighth inning as Juanita topped Interlake 3-2 in a loser-out, first-round game of the KingCo 3A baseball tournament at Bannerwood Park.
“That’s a big hit for him,” said Juanita coach Mark Peterson, whose team lost twice in the regular season only to bounce back in the playoffs against Interlake two years in a row.
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After starting at catcher, Cosgrove pitched two hitless innings in relief for his first high-school win and he went 2 for 3 with a walk at the plate. He led off the bottom of the eighth with a double to left-center field.
The Rebels (9-10) face KingCo 3A No. 1 seed Bellevue (11-8) in the semifinals on Monday at 4 p.m.
“I love these guys and I love working for them,” Johanson said of his team, which has 13 seniors. “I always try to think drive with my front foot and get the ball down. It’s all on you, so you have to get it somewhere to win the game.”
The semifinal winners play in the KingCo 3A championship game on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Bannerwood.
The Saints beat Juanita twice during the regular season, 5-2 at home on April 18 and 9-2 at Juanita on May 5.
Mount Si 3, Liberty (Issaquah) 0
Senior pitcher Tanner Simpson crafted a shutout as the Wildcats (14-7) survived despite an off hitting day during which all three runs were unearned.
The right-handed Simpson (3-1) was efficient in his six-hitter that required just 58 pitches. He struck out six batters and had no walks or hit batsmen in his seven innings.
The Wildcats, fourth last season in the 3A state tournament, beat the Patriots (3-18) for the third time this season despite getting just two hits. They scored one run in the bottom of the fourth after Chris Solomon’s sacrifice fly scored Evan Johnson.
Mount Si advances to meet Mercer Island (10-5) in the semifinals on Monday at 7 p.m. The two teams split during the regular season.
Mount Si topped the Patriots in two regular-season meetings, 9-0 on April 18 at Liberty and 4-3 at home on May 5 by rallying with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Wildcats fell 3-1 to West Seattle in the 3A state semis in 2013.