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State 3A baseball: Mt. Spokane claws way to third place

PASCO – The Mt. Spokane Wildcats essentially had to win the game twice, but found a way to end their magical season with a victory over Shorewood on Saturday to finish third in the State 3A baseball championships.

The Wildcats (21-6) lost a 4-3 heartbreaker Friday against O’Dea for a chance at their first state baseball championship. But they rallied with the 9-4 win Saturday over the Thunderbirds.

“It was a fantastic season,” coach Alex Schuerman said as he cradled the box holding the third-place trophy. “Nobody will ever take that away from us.”

Cooper Smith started on the mound for the Wildcats. He gave up four earned runs and was two outs from a complete-game 4-3 win until Shorewood (20-4) rallied with a double and single to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning and take it to extra innings.

Schuerman then had Blake Macdonald pitch 2 1/3 innings in relief for the win.

The Wildcats blew the game open in the ninth after they loaded the bases and Connor Cantu walked to make it 5-4.

Tyler Bailey then doubled to score two more. Smith, who threw 108 pitches, hit a bloop single to score two more to make it 9-4.

Macdonald survived two errors that put two Shorewood runners on base in the bottom of the ninth. He then coaxed two groundouts and a flyout to end the game.

Drew Rasmussen finished with three hits and an RBI. Cantu, Smith and Bailey all had two RBIs.

Shorewood pitcher Ian Oxnevad threw 132 pitches, 83 of those for strikes, in 8 1/3 innings. He gave up three earned runs and eight hits.

Schuerman praised his team for finding a way to win after losing a shot to play for the state title.

“It’s the story of our year. We just battled,” he said. “We never quit.”

The players, some with tears, hugged each other after the game.

“I’m really going to miss this team,” Schuerman said. “We are going to celebrate a little bit on the way home. Then we are going to work our tails off to get back next year.”