Shorewood needs eight innings to knock off Central Kitsap, 1-0, while Mercer Island rallies to beat Bainbridge, 11-6, in Class 3A state semifinals at Husky Ballpark.
Extra-inning scoreless games are getting normal for Shorewood. After needing 12 innings to advance with a 1-0 win in a loser-out game last Saturday, the Thunderbirds, behind a gem from starter Ian Oxnevad, pulled out another in a must-win contest Friday.
Nick Edney hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to give Shorewood a 1-0 walk-off win over Central Kitsap in eight innings at Husky Ballpark in the Class 3A state semifinals. The Thunderbirds advance to face Mercer Island in the title game Saturday at 4 p.m. at Husky Ballpark, but the win was not without controversy.
Shorewood loaded the bases with one out in the eighth and Edney lifted a fly ball to left to easily score Max Wagner from third. As Wagner popped up from his slide, he let out a scream and ran to hug Oxnevad, who was streaming out of the dugout.
It appeared Wagner accidentally bumped Central Kitsap pitcher Eric McCormick, who reacted with a shove. An ensuing tangle left McCormick on the ground and catcher Bryce Higgins came to protect the pitcher. A shoving match between the teams followed and it took a few moments to be broken up.
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Tournament officials confirmed there were no ejections, which means there will be no repercussions for Shorewood in the title game.
The fight overshadowed a brilliant pitching duel between Oxnevad and McCormick. Oxnevad, who tossed 11 innings of scoreless ball in last Saturday’s one-run win, went eight innings Friday, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out four. In a continuing theme from his gem last week when he picked off four runners at first, the senior left-hander nabbed two.
“I’ve been at Shorewood for 17 years and I’ve had a good stable of pitchers there .. but I don’t know if I’ve had anybody perform like that,” Shorewood coach Wyatt Tonkin said. “This is a testament that I can say, that that kid was born to be a pitcher. I mean, he was born to play baseball. And man, does he play.”
McCormick breezed through the first seven innings, but ran into trouble in the eighth when he gave up a leadoff single to Wagner. After a sacrifice bunt, two hit batters loaded the bases for Edney.
“Saw the first pitch, it was there, I hit it as hard as I could,” Edney said. “It happened to be pretty far.”
Central Kitsap faces Bainbridge in the third-place game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Husky Ballpark.
Mercer Island 11, Bainbridge 6
Trailing by three runs in the sixth inning and a trip to the state title game on the line, Anthony Scalzo knew had to do something. And something he did.
Scalzo hit a game-tying three-run triple, Noah Hsue delivered the go-ahead single and Mercer Island advanced to its first ever championship game.
“I knew something had to be done,” Scalzo said. “I just believed in all of our guys, I just got a pitch I could hit and hit it.”
Mercer Island entered the inning trailing, 6-3, but promptly loaded the bases with no outs thanks to a hit-by-pitch and two singles to bring up Scalzo. After the triple, Bainbridge starter Trent Schulte quickly got two outs, including Scalzo at home attempting to score on a grounder, but Hsue came through with the go-ahead single.
“I know that he likes to throw first-pitch fastballs for strikes, so I was looking for a fastball middle-in to hit, and I got one and was able to put it into the outfield for a hit,” said Hsue, who went 4 for 4 with two RBI.
The Islanders added four runs in the top of the seventh to pad the lead, and Will Mansfield, who came on in relief for starter Peter Lopes, worked around two walks to close the game out. Mansfield tossed the final 22/3 innings to pick up the win.
“I know coming here in the first place, just to get to the semis, was history,” Scalzo said. “But this was so much more just for the community, the program, everything.”