By Lee Hughes
Staff Reporter 

Card baseball crew wrap up season with loss

Season a surprise improvement from previous years record

 

Brandon Hansen, The Independent, Chewelah

Medical Lake coach Cory Wagner celebrates a play during post-season action in Colville, Saturday, May 4.

The Medical Lake baseball crew wrapped up the regular season with a win against Deer Park on Tuesday, April 30, followed by a post-season loser-out loss to Riverside on Saturday, May 4 in Colville that the ended their 2019 baseball season.

Medical Lake vs. Deer Park

Because the Cards had the fourth seed playoff spot locked up, the goal was to gain momentum and offensive production in the Cards final regular season game, according to head coach Austin Sharp.

It was a defensive game for the first two innings with the Stags (8-4, 13-6) leading by a single run. In the bottom of the third the Card bats woke up from their slumber, bringing home six runners for a 6-1 lead going into the fourth.

Deer Park answered back with three runs in the top of the inning., but the Cards brought in another three at the bottom of the fourth for a six-point lead.

Relief pitcher Weston Thomas had his hands full in the top of the fifth, allowing four Stag runners to score before retiring the side.

"Nobody can seem to hit him well," Sharp said. "He's been great out of the bullpen all year."

The Cards went scoreless for the remainder of the game. Thomas allowed another Deer Park runner to score, but it wasn't enough for the Stags, and Medical Lake notched a 10-8 victory in their final regular season game before a hometown crowd.

Pitcher Jack Meade started the game on the mound and was relived by Thomas in top of the fourth inning after throwing 97 pitches and six strikeouts. Meade allowed seven runs, six of them earned, on four hits, and walked eight batters.

Thomas closed the game with one earned run on three hits a single walk and two strikeouts.

Deer Park threw eight strikeouts, but that didn't phase the Cardinal offense, who had 10 hits in 28 at-bats. Brent Kieth, Nick Thompson and Jacob Edison each had two RBIs. Sam Gollehon went 2 for 3.

"Offensively it was probably the best game we played all year," Sharp said. "That was a big win going into the playoffs."

Post-Season: Medical Lake vs. Riverside

The Cards traveled to Colville to face the Riverside Rams (4-9, 8-10) in loser-out, post-season play on Saturday, May 4 that, by the end of the seventh inning, became a season-ending 11-9 loss for Medical Lake.

The Cards came out strong, keeping the Rams scoreless in the top of the first, while bringing in two of their own runners in the bottom of the inning.

But in the top of the third the Rams bats came alive, knocking six runs off of starting pitcher Gollehon that the Cards weren't able to recover at the bottom of the inning.

Going into the fourth with a 6-2 lead the Rams scored four more runs off relief pitcher Thomas, but the Cards answered back in the bottom of the inning with three of their own runs, then holding the Stags scoreless in the top of the fifth. The offense brought in three more runs in the bottom of the fifth making it a two-run game.


But that's as close as the Cards would get. Both teams knocked in a single run apiece in the sixth.

Some momentum was gained on defense in the top of the seventh. Down by three runs, Thomas allows two runners on base, then gives up a ground ball that head to Keith on second base who tagged out the runner, then flipped the ball to Gollehon at shortstop, who fired it to first for the double play. Meanwhile, the runner from second tried to score and was thrown out at home for a triple play.


"So we had a big momentum shift right there going into the bottom of the seventh," Sharps said.

But the Cards were unable to capitalize, going scoreless in the final inning for an 11-9 loss to the Rams and an end to the 2019 season.

Gollehon threw 87 pitches in three innings, striking out seven batters while allowing 10 runs on five hits and walking four.

In relief, Thomas played four innings throwing 56 pitches and holding the Rams to three hits and a single run, but walking four.

"He pitched in 15 games for me out of the 20 we played," Sharp said.

The offense performed well considering the Rams starting pitcher had seven strikeouts in the first three innings and allowed zero walks.

The Cards were able to steal nine bases, including three each by Trevor Hurt-Moran and Gollehon.

Reflecting and looking ahead

Sharp said the team over-performed based on his initial win-loss expectations during the season. He noted they improved significantly from the previous year. Picked by NEA coaches to be dead last, they ended up in fourth place, and beat Deer Park, the fifth-ranked team in the state, Sharp said.

The Cards went 1-13 last year, improving their record to 5-7, and 5-14 overall this year.

"I didn't know we would get that much better in one year," Sharp said.

Looking ahead Sharp was optimistic for next season. While the Cards will be losing four starters with two to three years of experience to graduation, some of the underclassmen he brought up from JV got some experience he hopes to capitalize on.

"I think well be OK," he said, noting the team will fielding only one senior next year. "We'll be young, but many players have committed to playing over the summer. That's a big part. They've got to play summer baseball."

Lee Hughes can be reached at lee@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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