Medical Lake had a pair of memorable innings during last Saturday’s state quarterfinal baseball playoff at Eastmont High School in East Wenatchee.
They just needed more of them after falling out of the postseason play following a 17-7 loss to Cascade of Leavenworth. Earlier, the Cardinals scored their winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat Cle Elum-Roslyn 1-0 to advance to the round of eight.
The Cardinals saw a seven game winning streak and their season come to an end as the Kodiaks scored eight runs in both the first and second innings. Medical Lake finished the season with 20-4 record, a huge turnaround from 1-18 in 2012.
“It was just one of those days,” Cardinals’ coach Kerry Kelly said of the second game where Cascade quickly erased a 7-0 Medical Lake lead using five singles, a double, a pair of walks and an error while batting through the order, and then some.
Medical Lake got a leadoff double to get their seven-run first off to a quick start. Taylor Dormaier reached on an error, Kasey Kelly, Adam Paulson singled and Roman Kissack was safe on an error and the Cards led 3-0.
Jordan Calero hit a sacrifice fly for an RBI, then Braden Hale, Dylan Rushfeldt and Connor Cranston all singled to build the lead to 6-0. Wagner’s second at bat in the inning produced a fielder’s choice and an RBI for Medical Lake’s final run of the inning, and, as it turned out, their last score of the season.
“All the wheels came off,” Kelly said. “It was one of those days.”
That big first inning in game two followed their walk-off win in the opening game.
In largely typical fashion, Medical Lake scored the winning run in the opener without the aid of a hit.
After getting just three hits through the first seven innings, two in the bottom of the first, Hale walked, Tristen Keith bunted moving Hale to second. Jaylen Musser came in to pinch run for Hale. Then Wagner, the Cardinals’ third freshman in the lineup popped up to the second baseman who chased the ball into right field running away from the play, toward foul territory.
Musser tagged, as he was always instructed to do which forced the pending throw to maybe be quicker than one would have liked.
“It was just a good job of base running because we had just talked about that a couple of days before.” Kelly said. “He (Musser) just went about and did his job; he tagged, took a good aggressive jump and put pressure on him and the ball got away.”
Kelly said Musser did a good pop-up slide and headed home for the win. “It was a great celebration.”
“Sometimes the good thing about a freshman, is that they’re freshmen and they don’t know any better.” Kelly said. “They don’t sometime understand the magnitude, it’s another baseball game.”
Sometimes being young is the best thing for a big situation. “Those freshmen were in a lot of big situations this year and they stepped up to the challenge,” Kelly said.
The Cardinal players are the ones who got all the mentions for their play but Kelly wanted to point out another element of the team’s success.
“We don’t talk about the coaching staff enough,” Kelly said of his assistants, Ryan Reitmeier and Rob Beamer.
“They just did an outstanding job with these boys,” Kelly said. “Reitmeier is our pitching and conditioning guy; he has that pitching staff ready to go.” The rotation was in shape and able to pitch deep into games.
They just had a great deal of instruction.
“Rob Beamer just did everything for us,” Kelly said. “(He had) great rapport with the kids.”
“The coaching staff had such great chemistry, it carried over to the kids,” Kelly said. “It’s success from the top to the bottom, we just had a great year.”
Next up after a short break is American Legion baseball, which starts in June.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.