EVERETT — After not pitching for two weeks because of a sore shoulder, Cascade’s Ky Dye was eager to get the starting nod for Monday night’s Class 4A District 1 semifinal baseball game against Snohomish.
It was hardly the start he wanted. Dye hit three batters in the first inning and his teammates committed two errors behind him, allowing Snohomish to seize a 1-0 lead. It likely would have been much worse except for a timely Cascade double play.
But the shaky first inning turned out to be the only blemish for Dye and the Bruins, who rallied from that early one-run deficit for a 5-1 victory over the Panthers at Everett Memorial Stadium. Dye, a hard-throwing right-hander, checked Snohomish on four hits and his teammates totaled 11 hits, including three for extra bases, to clinch a spot in the upcoming state tournament.
“I’m super excited for the kids,” said Cascade coach Scott Stencil, whose team will make its second straight trip to state. “They’ve worked so hard to try to get back to where we were last year, and I feel like we’ve just gotten better every day since the season started.
“It’s exciting for me, too, but it’s really about them. They’ve just done a great job all year. And they’re a special group. They’re just a great group of guys.”
Before the state tournament, the Bruins will first face Lake Stevens for the district championship. That game will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, also at Everett Memorial Stadium.
“I think the boys are going to be excited to play for a district title,” Stencil said. “And Lake Stevens will be a great test for us going into state.”
Cascade opened the district tourney by beating Monroe on Saturday, and that day Dye told his coach he wanted to pitch against Snohomish. Stencil double-checked on Monday “and he said, ‘Coach, I’m pitching.’ Once I heard that, that was it. He was going to throw.
“He’s a fierce competitor,” Stencil said. “He definitely wanted the ball. He hates to lose. A lot of athletes hate to lose, but he really hates to lose. And I’m just so proud of him for going out there and throwing as well as he did.”
Afterward, Dye admitted that he was only “about 85 percent,” due partly to a two-week layoff and partly to some lingering pain in his shoulder. “But it’s my senior year and I just wanted the ball,” he said. “I wanted to make sure everything was in my hands. If we lost it was on me, but I wasn’t planning on losing.
“I feel pretty good about the way I pitched,” added Dye, a senior who will play next season at Seattle University. “I commanded with my fastball and then got my changeup over the plate for strikes and they were swinging over the top of it.”
As for that gosh-awful first inning, “we came out with a little bit of nerves,” he said. “And then my two-seam (fastball) was running in a little too much and it was hitting people. … I wasn’t too mad about the errors. I was more mad about myself for hitting those batters. I think it was mostly (too much) adrenalin, but that was on me.”
As it turned out, it mattered little because Cascade’s offense was in good form. The Bruins had two or more hits in every inning but one, and although they stranded 11 runners there were enough timely hits to give Dye a good cushion.
Cascade’s Brennen Hancock sent a two-run single into left field in the second, Austin Pinorini drove a two-run double into the right field corner in the fourth (he was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple), and Matthew Butler had an RBI single to left in the sixth.
“We had some really good swings,” Stencil said. “We didn’t have a lot of bad at-bats, and that really made the difference. We left some runners on base, but we were able to come up with some big hits at the right time and get Ky the lead back. And then he kind of took the ball and dominated from there.”
The loss drops the Panthers into the tournament’s consolation bracket. Snohomish will face Arlington in a 4 p.m. loser-out contest this afternoon at Snohomish.
At Everett Memorial Stadium
Snohomish 100 000 0 — 1 4 2
Cascade 020 201 x — 5 11 3
Tanner Arrington, Jake Mulholland (4) and Ben Dmochowsky; Ky Dye and Von Ferguson. WP_Dye, LP_Arrington. 2B_Von Ferguson (C), Ky Dye (C), Austin Pinorini (C). Records_Snohomish is 14-8, Cascade is 18-4.