By Roger Underwood Yakima Herald-Republic
YAKIMA — They fought, scratched and clawed Friday, periodically ruffling Archbishop Murphy’s ace and, for a brief period, even taking a lead.
But when East Valley’s Class 2A semifinal with the Wildcats concluded at Yakima County Stadium, Murphy’s broad-shouldered Levi MaVorhis was still standing.
MaVorhis scattered five hits, gave up just two earned runs and struck out eight batters in a complete-game victory as the Wildcats beat East Valley 5-4 to advance to the 2A state championship game.
Archbishop Murphy faces a familiar foe, Lynden, in today’s title game at 7 p.m. The two teams have split this season, with Lynden winning in the regular season and Murphy returning the favor in the district tournament.
“Just a tough ballgame,” said Red Devils coach Jesse Benedetti, whose squad had won 14 of its past 15 games before encountering MaVorhis. “Their guy was pretty much what we thought he’d be — threw a heavy fastball and was very good.”
Archbishop Murphy took a quick 1-0 lead on Trever Morrison’s first-inning triple and Eric Lawson’s following single. They added a run via Zander Clouse’s RBI single in the top of the third.
The Devils responded in the third. Justin Juarez’s infield single was followed by a single to center by Hanson, and when Hugo Lemus bounced into a potential around-the-horn double play, Archbishop Murphy threw the ball into right field.
One run scored on a fielder’s choice, another plated on another Wildcats error and, when Jarett Martin drew a bases-loaded walk, East Valley had a 3-2 lead and MaVorhis, seemingly, on the ropes.
The senior right-hander would finish the frame without further damage, however, and after Murphy got its final run in the seventh off Hanson, MaVorhis yielded a leadoff two-bagger to Hanson in the bottom of the frame and an RBI groundout by Ford, then ended the game with his eighth strikeout.
Hanson doubled, singled and scored twice for EV while Clouse had a pair of RBI singles for Murphy.
At County Stadium
Levi MaVorhis and Alex Galgano. Riker Ford, Hunter Hanson (7) and Jarett Martin. WP—MaVorhis (11-0). LP—Ford. 2B—Alexander Clouse (AM) 1, Galgano 1, Zach Janis (EV) 1, Hanson 1. 3B—Trever Morrison (AM) 1. Records—East Valley 20-7 overall. Archbishop Murphy 25-2.