Cheney baseball advances in playoffs
Cheney defeats Pullman in round one of playoffs; will move on to seeding round
Pitcher Sawyer Sims throws the ball to first baseman Andrew Graham (not pictured) before the Pullman hitter can reach base in Cheney's 6-1 win over the Greyhounds.
The Cheney high baseball team had a debt to pay Tuesday night as they played the No. 6 ranked Pullman Greyhounds in the first round of the Great Northern League playoffs. Last year Pullman, who was the No. 6 seed, eliminated Cheney in the first round.
This time the Blackhawks dug deep and pulled out another victory, defeating the Hounds, 6-1 to advance to the second round of the GNL playoffs.
Cheney grabbed the lead early with two runs in the first inning. In the fifth, the Hawks' scored four more runs on home runs from Andrew Graham and Connor Pratt, followed by three consecutive hits.
"This team doesn't do anything for a while and then we get 4-5 hits in a row," head coach Mike Cagle said. "It's fun to watch at times."
Cagle added that it was emotional watching Graham, who went 3 for 4 at bat, hit the first homer of his career.
Pitcher Sawyer Sims, who Cagle referred to as Cheney's "ace in the hole" against the Greyhounds, threw a four-hitter, walking only three hitters.
Three days before the playoff game, the Blackhawks (11-7, GNL, 11-7 overall) ended their regular season when they split a doubleheader with the Greyhounds in Pullman.
Cheney jumped into the lead after scoring two runs in the first and had a four-run fourth before Pullman got on the board with two runs in the fourth in the Blackhawks 7-3 game one win.
Game two was a different story as the Greyhounds defeated the Blackhawks, 8-6.
The Hawks struggled to focus in the beginning with Pullman pitcher Mike Peterson had seven strikeouts over six innings.
Pullman was ahead 8-1 when Cheney made a comeback, scoring four runs in the sixth after triples from Sims and Graham and a double from Kyle Jones. Despite getting one more run in the seventh, the Hounds came away with the win.
Prior to their trilogy with Pullman, Cheney defeated Colville, 11-1 in their last home game of the season. Catcher Dominic Bonilla went 3 for 3 with three RBIs, Sims went 2 for 2 with a double and two RBIs and first baseman Graham went 2 for 3 with a single.
The Blackhawks returned to Colville to face the Indians in the second round of tournament May 14. Regardless of the outcome then Cheney will play Saturday, May 17.
Cagle said one of the team's goals was to make it to the playoffs. Now he hopes to advance to regionals.
"I've participated as both a coach and as a player," Cagle said. "It's a blast and I want these guys to experience that."
Al Stover can be reached at email@example.com.