GRANITE FALLS — A clutch performance by relief pitcher Chris Gentry and a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth inning sealed the come-from-behind victory for Granite Falls as the Tigers defeated South Whidbey 4-3 in a Cascade Conference game on Monday afternoon.
After a third inning that saw Granite Falls starting pitcher Riley Larsen give up three runs to the Falcons, Larsen settled down, but with a high pitch count going into the eighth Tigers head coach Doug Engstrom had the tough decision of keeping in Larsen or bringing in Gentry to close the game.
“Riley did a nice job,” said Engstrom. “But he was over 100 pitches. I was wondering to myself if I was throwing him a little too much. It’s tough, guys like that always want to stay in.”
Gentry walked two and struck out three in the top of the eighth.
In the bottom of the eighth the Tigers loaded the bases with one out. Larsen walked to force in the winning run.
With the victory and Archbishop Murphy’s 1-0 loss to Cedarcrest, the Tigers lead the Cascade Conference with three games remaining in the regular season.
“I knew we were close (to first place),” said Engstrom. “We’re gonna keep playing the same as if we were tied. There’s three more games and our goal is to keep winning of course. These boys have been working hard all season. Swinging at 6 a.m., they’ve been doing that for years, they’ve been putting in the time to get to this point.”
At Granite Falls H.S.
Brent Piehler, Colton Sterba (6), CJ Sutfin (8) and Ricky Muzzy, Piehler (6). Riley Larsen, Chris Gentry (8) and Griffin Chapman. WP—Gentry (6-1). LP—Sutfin (0-2). Records—South Whidbey 10-6 league, 12-6 overall. Granite Falls 11-4, 12-5.