By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
ANACORTES — It was fitting that Derrick Mahlum and Zander Clouse both took the mound during Saturday’s district championship game against Sedro-Woolley.
Both were integral in getting the Wildcats to the game.
Mahlum started the game, giving up just two hits and a run over six innings, and Clouse closed it out as the Wildcats beat the Cubs 9-1 in the 2A District 1/2 Tournament championship game at Volunteer Park on Saturday.
“We just kind of expect it out of each other,” said Clouse of he and Mahlum. “We’re both good pitchers and we both have our strengths, but Derrick definitely showed why he’s one of the best pitchers in the state. I think if we just keep going out throwing good games we’ll have a chance (to win state).”
Archbishop Murphy, the defending 2A state champs, had already advanced to state before Saturday’s game but the win guaranteed the Wildcats the No. 1 seed in regionals and a game in Bellingham. The Wildcats face White River at Joe Martin Stadium on May 18 at 1 p.m.
Mahlum had good stuff again Saturday, shutting down a hot Sedro-Woolley offense that had led the upstart Cubs, winners of 10 of 11, to an upset of favorite Lynden in the semifinals and into the district title game. It was a performance that came just a week after throwing a three-hit complete-game win over Bellingham in the first round of the tournament.
“Derrick is one of the best pitchers in the state so whenever a team has to go against one of the best it’s going to be a different game,” said Archbishop Murphy head coach Stan Taloff.
Besides getting the final three outs of Saturday’s win, Clouse limited Sehome to just two runs and struck out eight in a complete-game victory in the semifinals on Tuesday. He also did major damage at the plate, breaking open the game with a bases-clearing double in a five-run second inning that broke open the game. He also led off the fifth with a double that sparked another three run outburst.
“Zander is just doing a great job in that fourth spot because that’s pressure position to be in and he’s staying on top of the ball at the plate,” Taloff said. “He’s as hot as any hitter we’ve ever had.”
Archbishop Murphy jumped on the Cubs early. Wildcats shortstop Trever Morrison led off the game with a single to right field and the Oregon State commit promptly stole second. After a text-book sacrifice bunt by Casey Dawes moved him over to third, Morrison scored the game’s first run when catcher Alex Galgano rapped a single over the shortstop’s head.
“I think that’s always key,” Taloff said of scoring the first run. “Once you take the pressure off knowing you have a good guy going to the mound and give him a lead he ends up pitching better and that gives the offense confidence.”
In the second, Murphy took advantage of a few Sedro-Woolley’s miscues to break the game open. Cubs starter Collin Hannan hit two batters and an error loaded the bases for Clouse, who crushed a double to right field to clear the bases.
At Volunteer Park
Collin Hannan, Joe Hayes (5), Mason Swenson (6) and Jackson Conn. Derrick Mahlum, Zander Clouse (7) and Alex Galgano. 2B—Clouse (AM) 2, Zack Malmberg (SW). Records—Sedro-Woolley 14-9 overall. Archbishop Murphy 21-2.