By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
EVERETT — A Cascade baseball team that reached the Class 4A state playoffs a year ago is showing signs of having similar potential again this season.
The Bruins got their second victory in three games of the young season on Friday afternoon with a 5-0 non-conference decision against visiting Mountlake Terrace. The winning formula for Cascade was outstanding pitching, timely hitting, opportunistic base running and nearly flawless defense.
Among the heroes was pitcher Matthew Butler, a left-handed junior who got an unexpected start after a teammate came up with a tender arm on game day. Butler worked five innings and gave up just four hits (one was a slicing fly ball an outfielder seemed to lose in the sun) while walking two and striking out three.
“We had to make a quick change (in starting pitchers) before the game and Matthew Butler gave us five solid innings,” said Bruins coach Scott Stencil. “He threw the ball really well.”
As did right-handed reliever Kelly King, who closed the game with two hitless innings. Neither Cascade pitcher allowed a Mountlake Terrace base runner past second base.
The Bruins, meanwhile, touched Hawks starter Jason Shevenko for two runs in the first inning, and then added solo runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Offensively, Cascade was led by third baseman Taylor Marquardt who reached safely in all four plate appearances with three singles and a walk. He also scored twice, drove in a run and stole a base.
Marquardt committed his team’s only error, but it was a forgivable miscue — a sharp ground ball that took a sudden high hop. “And (only) one error in our first home game, I’ll take that,” Stencil said.
Butler not only pitched well, he contributed with his bat, too, lashing a line drive that rolled to the wall in right-center field for a stand-up triple in the fourth inning. He would later score, and the next inning he drove in another run with a sacrifice fly.
The Bruins ended up totaling eight hits and had six other base runners via walks and a hit batter.
For Mountlake Terrace, second baseman Jaden Yackley had two of his team’s four hits, and he got on base a third time on Marquardt’s error.
Cascade reached the state playoffs last spring for the first time since 2004 by winning four straight loser-out postseason games. The Bruins return six of nine regular starters from that squad, including the team’s top three pitchers, “so we’ve got a lot of guys back who’ve been through it,” Stencil said.
The challenge for Cascade, which opened its season with a loss to Puyallup and a win against Bothell, is playing in the very competitive Western Conference 4A.
“I like our chances,” Stencil said. “But Wesco is a great league and you never really know. Last year we could’ve been two and out (at the district tournament), but we just happened to win some games there.
“There are probably six (Wesco) teams that have a chance to advance (to state) and it really comes down to who plays their best games at the end. But I really feel like we’re in that mix and hopefully we’ll our best games at the end of the year. Our expectation is that we’ll be a competitive team and hopefully win the games we need to win.”
At Cascade H.S.
Mountlake Terrace 000 000 0 — 0 4 0
Cascade 200 111 x — 5 8 1
Jason Shevenko, Dan Theis (4), Keegan Otter (6) and Wyatt Allemann, Nolan Takeya (6); Matthew Butler, Kelly King (6) and Von Ferguson. WP—Butler. LP—Shevenko. 2B—Dominic DeMiero (MT). 3B—Butler (C). Records—Mountlake Terrace 0-2 overall. Cascade 2-0.