YAKIMA – For a few raucous minutes Friday afternoon, it looked like West Valley’s sixth-inning magic was going to come through for a second straight game.
But Mountlake Terrace was up to the challenge and held on for a 7-3 win in the State 2A baseball semifinals at County Stadium.
The loss drops the Eagles (16-9) into Saturday’s consolation game at 10 a.m. against defending runner-up W.F. West. Regardless of the result, WV will bring home its first baseball trophy since 1977.
The Eagles made it to Yakima thanks to a sixth-inning rally that knocked off Liberty (Issaquah) in last Saturday’s quarterfinal. After five innings of being shut out by Hawks left-hander Tanner Boe on Friday, the Eagles pulled to within one run and had two men on base and two outs.
But Boe had to leave the game because of pitch-count limitations and reliever Dillon Gordon got the third out with little trouble.
“We saw what we thought we would from him,” WV coach Corey Aitken said of Boe. “That 12-6 curveball isn’t something we see a lot in our league.”
Boe was in control, avoiding a first-pitch ball during his first time through the Eagles’ batting order. He walked three batters in the first four innings, but his eight strikeouts during that time prohibited the Eagles from getting anything going.
That wasn’t for having chances. WV had men on base in the first, second and fourth innings, but the Eagles couldn’t advance anyone past second base despite Blake Transue’s one-out double in the top of the fourth. Spencer Shipman walked right behind Transue, but Boe got two straight strikeouts to end the threat.
Catcher Brian Andrews did plenty to help WV’s defensive cause, throwing out back-to-back Hawks runners trying to steal second in the third.
Even a 20-minute delay – after the plate umpire was injured and had to be replaced – didn’t slow Boe. Two pitches after play resumed, he got Hunter Tiffany to ground out to shortstop to end the fifth.
Boe finally found an opponent he couldn’t baffle in the sixth – the WIAA’s 105-pitch limit. After a pair of singles, an error, and a walk amounted to two Eagles runs, Gordon relieved Boe, who had thrown 101 pitches. Gordon got Brian Andrews to ground out with two men on base to quell the uprising.