PASCO – Mt. Spokane’s chase of its first state title in baseball ended with a 4-3 semifinal loss after a bizarre rundown with two outs in the final inning that involved every O’Dea infielder before the game ended with a numbing thud.
Down 4-1 to O’Dea going into the final inning, Jordan Fitzpatrick and Blake Macdonald singled to set up Drew Rasmussen, who smashed a ball over the right fielder for a double that scored two runs to make it 4-3.
Connor Cantu, who last weekend hit a two-out, seventh-inning grand slam to send the Wildcats to the state semifinals, then walked. Tyler Bailey followed with a sacrifice bunt to move pinch-runner Michael Walker to third and Cantu to second.
But Tanner Conroy then hit a squibber to the pitcher, who threw to first for the second out. Cantu was caught in a rundown between second and third before the game ended when Walker broke for home and was tagged out.
“We didn’t execute a play at the end. It cost us a chance to stay in it,” coach Alex Schuerman said. “O’Dea played a good game. But at the end of the day, I feel like we should have been there.”
The “there” he referred to was the 7 p.m. title game. Instead, Mt. Spokane will play in the consolation game at 1 p.m. today in Gesa Stadium.
Asked what he would tell his team, Schuerman choked up with tears.
“I’ll tell them we had a heck of a year,” he struggled to say. “It’s just too bad we didn’t get them. We definitely had a good enough team.”
The Wildcats (20-6) jumped to an early lead when Macdonald singled in the first inning to score Fitzpatrick off O’Dea pitcher Ethan Clements, who struck out six and gave up three earned runs in six innings.
But sloppy play cost Mt. Spokane, which made six errors. After O’Dea (24-2) tied the game in the fourth inning, a throwing error allowed two runs for the Fighting Irish in a three-run fifth.
Still, Rasmussen kept O’Dea within striking distance. The senior pitcher struck out seven batters and gave up only one earned run.
“The errors killed us,” Schuerman said. “But we still had a chance. We needed one more big hit.”