April 22, 2014
By Neil Pierson
Issaquah uses timely hitting for 7-3 victory
After scoring two early runs, the Issaquah Eagles had trouble getting more offensive production.
Trailing 3-2 in the fifth inning, though, Issaquah used some patient at-bats to draw walks and drive in runs. The Eagles pushed across two runs to take the lead, then added three insurance runs in the sixth for a 7-3 victory against the visiting Woodinville Falcons in a Class 4A KingCo Conference baseball game on April 18.
Patience hasn’t always been a virtue for Issaquah this season, seniors Jack Gellatly and Ryan Peart said. But that changed against Woodinville, particularly after the Eagles were able to get Falcons starter Connor White out of the game in the fifth.
Keegan Chaplin and Mitchell Morimoto each drew one-out walks to load the bases against reliever Alex Rees. Issaquah’s Nik Sutherland then fouled off four pitches with two strikes, eventually coaxing a walk to tie the score at 3.
Henry Coba took over for Rees, but he couldn’t keep Issaquah from taking the lead as Gellatly worked a 3-2 count and reached on an infield single.
Gellatly said Issaquah (9-5 overall, 4-5 conference) has been getting better at producing those types of quality at-bats.
“I think our run production has been a lot better,” he said. “I think we know when to be aggressive and when to be patient.
“I think it puts pressure on guys when you drive up their pitch count, and when pitchers start walking people, it just puts a lot of pressure on them. That’s obviously what we want as hitters.”
The Eagles looked like they might have their way with White after the first inning. Gellatly drilled a single to center field to score Chaplin, and his good baserunning on a double steal allowed Morimoto to trot in for a 2-0 lead.
Woodinville (7-6, 3-6) responded in the second inning against Issaquah pitcher Peart. Leadoff hitter Davis Ballie doubled and scored on Chris Okura’s single, and Nolan McCafferty’s two-out single brought two more runs in for a 3-2 Falcons lead.
Peart didn’t feel as if he’d made any mistakes. He gave the Falcons credit for hitting good pitches.
“I was just throwing strikes. I tried to keep it low and away,” he said. “They got a few good hits, and there was nothing I could do. Our defense was trying to keep them as locked down as possible, and we were able to stop the bleeding where it was and then put up more zeroes.”
Peart not only shut out the Falcons the rest of the way, he also didn’t allow them to threaten. He finished with four hits and one walk allowed, striking out four on 105 pitches. More impressively, he retired the last 13 hitters.
“Even at the end of last year, we saw how good of a pitcher he was going to be for us,” Gellatly said of Peart. He’s “just always composed on the mound … He puts a lot of balls on the ground.”
After grabbing the lead in the fifth, Issaquah salted things away in the sixth. Derek Chapman’s sacrifice fly brought home Ian Miller, and Chaplin drilled a double to score Erik Erickson. Morimoto’s triple to deep left made it 7-3.
Morimoto, a senior outfielder, has been Issaquah’s top offensive threat this season. He’s leading the team with a .400 average and three home runs, two of them coming in one inning of a win over Sedro-Woolley.
“He’s definitely one of our team leaders,” Peart said of Morimoto. “Sometimes, other teams are really nervous when pitching to him. It’s like, if he gets out, it’s a big sigh of relief because he’s such a threat at the plate … He’s pretty much the momentum starter.”