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Mt. Spokane first baseman Garrett Hoffnagle tries to get a tag on Kennewick's Steven Sordahl during a pickoff play on Saturday, May 12. Sordahl beat the throw and Kennewick beat the Wildcats 17-4 to earn the No. 1 seed to State 3A. (Dan Pelle)

Kennewick hands Mt. Spokane 3A baseball defeat

Wildcats earn No. 2 seed to state tournament after loss

The loss wasn’t the magnitude of the Titanic disaster, but the Mt. Spokane Wildcats baseball team did a good imitation, springing leaks early and ultimately going down with the ship.

Errors both physical and mental, walks, hit batsmen – you name it, everything went wrong in the 17-4 3A subregional spanking administered by visiting Kennewick, a quality team that didn’t need largesse.

“That was gross,” said Mt. Spokane coach Alex Schuerman. “I can only hope we got it out our system.”

The Wildcats had nine errors. Two hit batsmen scored, as did three who walked, and another run resulted from a wild pitch.

Not that the Lions were passive. They pounded 18 hits, including four doubles and a three-run home run.

Meanwhile, the Lions pitching set down a dozen batters on strikes, holding Mt. Spokane hitless until the fourth inning.

The one glimmer of light in all this was Mt. Spokae’s No. 3 hitter and catcher, Tucker Sanford. He drove in all four Wildcats runs with a fourth-inning home run lined over the left-field fence inside the foul line and a two-out single an inning later.

“I was lucky. We got people on base when I was hitting,” Sanford said. “I got my timing down in my first at-bat, got fastballs early in the count and they were a little bit over the plate.”

The game started ominously enough. Kennewick leadoff-hitting shortstop Trek Stemp (who finished with four hits) singled and Troy Fulton followed with an RBI double to set off a chain of events. The throw came to the plate wide of Sanford. Fulton headed for third, and Sanford threw it over the third baseman for the second run.

Two uncharacteristic errors in the second inning by shortstop Tyler Huck resulted in two more runs. There was another error in the third two-run inning.

Jarrod Gonzales countered Sanford’s homer with a three-run blast of his own in the top of the fifth. And the Lions added insult to injury with five more runs in the seventh.

“We just didn’t play well today,” Sanford said. “We struggled pitching, but it wasn’t our worst performance. I think everybody contributed to the defensive errors. You can’t really blame it on one person. It was the team’s fault.”

Schuerman said it was probably four or five games’ worth of errors.

“And there were things that weren’t even errors in the scorebook. It was ugly,” he said. “The good news about baseball is we live to see another day and this doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.”

The Wildcats play in the State 3A regionals next Saturday in Yakima’s Parker Stadium for a shot at redemption.