Liberty takes down Issaquah 8-4 in rainy battle

March 22, 2011

By Tim Pfarr

The Liberty High School baseball team took down the rival Issaquah Eagles, 8-4, March 18 at Liberty High School. The game started dry, but rain came in the third inning and didn’t let up, and eventually led to the game being stopped after the top of the fifth inning.

Jacob Hofferber, Liberty senior pitcher, throws out of a jam during the increasingly wet third inning March 18 against Issaquah. By Greg Farrar

Liberty is now 2-1 for the year, and Issaquah is 0-3.

“This is a huge win for us, huge rivalry,” said Chris Weik, Liberty’s second baseman. “It’s a good start.”

Liberty’s offense found its stride in the second inning, with first baseman Ben Wessel knocking a 2-0 pitch to center field for a single.

After pairs of strikeouts and walks, Liberty center fielder Scott Zerda came to the plate with the bases loaded. The count stretched to 3-2, but Issaquah pitcher Andrew Kemmerer threw ball four, walking in the first run of the game.

Weik came to the plate next, hitting a two-RBI single to center. Liberty followed with a hit and run, with third baseman Ryan Maio hitting an RBI-single as Weik took off running from first base, making it to third before the end of the play.

Weik then stole home on a wild pitch, and shortstop Jason Hubbard singled to right field, driving in Maio for the sixth and final run of the inning.

Each team’s offense remained quiet through the third inning, and Issaquah second baseman Justin Reynolds led off the fourth inning by blasting a 3-2 pitch from Liberty pitcher Jacob Hofferber over the left-field fence, bringing the score to 6-1.

Liberty responded with more offense of its own in the bottom of the fourth, when Hubbard came to the plate with bases loaded and one out against Issaquah reliever Matt Gonn. Hubbard hit a ball that Issaquah attempted to turn into a double play. The Eagles threw out the runner at second, but a wild throw to first base allowed two runners to score and stretch the lead to 8-1.

Issaquah’s offense struck again in the fifth inning, getting the bases loaded with no outs and first baseman Ethan Kalin at the plate. However, Kalin — the clean-up hitter — flied out to center field, not deep enough for the runner at third to tag up and score.

Catcher Zach Walker came up next, hitting an RBI-single to center field. Liberty walked in two more base runners before a strikeout and ground out ended the inning and — due to the weather — the game.

“I really liked how our team stuck together,” Zerda said. “We had really good momentum. We were always positive.”

Liberty coach Steve Darnell said his team is doing a fine job of not letting up for the entire game.

“One thing this team is starting to do is compete in all 21 outs, or in this case 15 outs,” he said. “They have demonstrated, in these first few games here, a willingness to stay focused in the moment. I think that’s going to help us long term.”

Issaquah head coach Rob Reese said the only bright spot in the game for his team was Reynolds’ performance. Reynolds was 2-2 in the game, with a single and an RBI-walk in addition to his solo home run in the fourth inning.

Hofferber was the winning pitcher in the game. In four innings pitched, he struck out six, walked four, and gave up 2 hits and 1 run. Kemmerer was given the loss, allowing the six runs in the second inning that put Issaquah behind early. However, he did record seven strikeouts.

The victory for Liberty was its second of the week. Liberty edged Auburn Mountainview, 2-1, March 16.

Rough week for Eagles

Issaquah had a tough week. The Eagles lost two other nonleague games last week.

Issaquah dropped its season-opener 8-0 to Kentridge March 14. Then on March 19, Issaquah lost to Kelso, 10-4, in a game at Newport. Jake Bakamus, Gavin Schumaker and Kalin each had two hits for Issaquah. Kemmerer drove in two runs.

Skyline earns split

Skyline split a pair of nonleague games last week. The Spartans lost to Mount Rainier, 3-1, March 17, but bounced back a day later and whipped Kentwood, 11-3.

In the Mount Rainier game, Skyline starting pitcher Brandon Lundeberg allowed two runs in the first inning, but settled down and blanked Mount Rainier over the next three frames. He pitched five innings in all, allowed one earned run and had four strikeouts.

Against Kentwood, Skyline erupted for seven runs in the bottom of the third inning. Nate Litka led Skyline with two hits and two RBIs. Winning pitcher Matt Lunde struck out five.

Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 239, or newcas@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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