Cellar-dwellers Juanita upsets top-ranked Liberty 7-5
April 28, 2009
By Jim Feehan
Robbie Ryan blasted a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to lead Juanita to a 7-5 victory against host Liberty High School on April 22.
The Rebels trailed the Patriots 5-3 coming into the final inning. Juanita’s first batter in the seventh, Cole Graves, struck out.
The next two batters reached on errors, bringing Ryan, the Rebels’ first basemen to the plate. His home run wrapped around the right field foul pole to put the Rebels up by one run.Juanita added another run when Mitch Iverson singled to right field. He advanced to second on a balk called on Liberty relief pitcher Eric Peterson. Juanita’s designated hitter, Patrick Barlow, followed with single-scoring Iverson.
Nick Olearain pitched the seventh inning for the Rebels and struck out Liberty’s Troy Coyler, Peterson and Peter Wiggum to save the game for Juanita starter Brady Rusch.
“This made their season,” Liberty head coach Steve Darnell said to his team following the game.
Coming into the game, Juanita was 1-11 and in last place in KingCo3A/2A play, while Liberty was 11-1 and tops in the league.
“I think we need to work on making routine defensive plays,” Darnell said. “We continue to improve our ability to have good quality approaches at the plate, and I think a few times today, we let that get away from us.”
In the fifth inning, Coyler stroked a single past the Rebels’ third baseman. Peterson followed by lashing a triple down the right field line, scoring Coyler. Nick Hart then grounded to the pitcher who looked toward Peterson at third, then through to first base to record the second out of the inning. This allowed Peterson to scamper in, making it 4-3 Liberty.
The Patriots added another run in the sixth inning, when John McLeod singled to left and Troy Askins brought McLeod’s courtesy runner Matt Weik in with an RBI single.
Dan Eck made his first start of the season for the Patriots, allowing one run during the first three innings. Keegan Bennett pitched the fourth, fifth and sixth innings for Liberty.
“He’s used to coming in when the game is on the line to save it and he did a very good job for us,” Darnell said of Eck. “I thought Keegan did an excellent job. He had some two-three pitch combinations that had those guys on their heels.”
Patriots beat Wolverines
On April 24, Askins had four hits and scored four runs in leading Liberty to a 12-6 win against Bellevue.
Liberty scored seven runs in the first two innings and never looked back. Bellevue didn’t help its cause by committing seven errors. McLeod pitched five innings to record the win for the Patriots.
Reach Reporter Jim Feehan at 392-6434, ext. 239, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.