MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — What started as a rout for Glacier Peak came close to becoming a reversal of fortune for the Grizzlies in Tuesday’s baseball game against Mountlake Terrace.
Three innings in, Glacier Peak led 12-0 and was six outs away from defeating the Hawks in five innings due to a 10-run mercy rule. Then the Hawks’ offense found life and eight outs later Terrace brought the tying run to the plate.
At that point, the Grizzlies retook control of the game and stymied Terrace, ending its rally and finally beating the Hawks 14-8 in the Wesco South opener for both teams.
“We knew they’re a good team and they can score runs, but we thought we could get six outs before they could get enough runs to (get within 10 runs and) keep it going. … We were wrong,” Glacier Peak head coach Bob Blair said. “You’ve got to give them credit. They didn’t quit.”
Glacier Peak got off to a quick start, scoring five runs in the top of the first inning as all nine Grizzlies came to the plate. By the bottom of the fourth, Glacier Peak had built a 12-0 lead and had the game looking like it was all but over.
Then the Mountlake Terrace offense got rolling.
Held hitless the first three innings, the Hawks rallied for four runs in the bottom of the fourth, getting two key hits after loading the bases with three walks to start the inning. Their onslaught continued, producing eight unanswered runs in a three-inning span.
Glacier Peak reliever Tanner Braun ended the Hawks’ surge in the bottom of the sixth with two runs already in and the bases loaded. Taking the mound with two outs, he struck out a batter to end the threat.
“I wasn’t comfortable, that’s for sure,” Blair said of the sixth inning. “But I knew we still had a couple of pitchers, including Tanner, left to pitch. I was pretty confident in his ability to go out and pitch and not give up four runs.”
“We believed we could do it,” Mountlake Terrace head coach Andrew Watters said. “The kids believed we could do it. I believed we could do it. You just try to create that situation. You realize you’re maybe one or two more clutch hits away from doing it. I’ve seen it before.”
Braun was the fourth pitcher used by Glacier Peak, after starter Mitch Pohrman and relievers Cody Campo and Casey Welch. Pohrman didn’t allow a hit in his three innings before being pulled from the game so that he could pitch again later in the Grizzlies’ three-game series against Mountlake Terrace.
“Mitch Pohrman threw well in his three innings. He shut them down. He did a great job on the mound,” Blair said. “He understood we may need him on Friday. It’s about trying to win three games from a good team.”
While Glacier Peak (1-0 league, 5-1 overall) used four pitchers in Tuesday’s contest, Mountlake Terrace only sent two pitchers out to the mound.
Senior Connor Clausen relieved starter Ben Reijonen with two outs — and seven runs allowed — in the second inning and pitched the rest of the way for the Hawks.
“Quite honestly that is huge,” Watters said. “You talk about the three-game series — well he saved arms for the next two games by being able to pitch well enough to eat up those innings for us. It was nice to see Connor settle down. Those middle three innings he threw in his outing where great. He was shutting them out and keeping us in the ballgame. He deserves a lot of credit for keeping us in that thing.”
Glacier Peak’s Branson Barnecut batted 3-for-5 with three doubles, three runs scored and two RBI and Sean Elledge (2-for-3) hit a two-run triple, a double and had a run scored. The Grizzlies finished the game with 23 hits, a total that was, at the very least, a season-high for Glacier Peak.
“We’ve only been open for five years so that might be an all-time high for the school,” Blair said.
Things were going so well for the Grizzlies early on that even when Glacier Peak batters struck out they scored runs.
Braun, who was 4-for-5 with four RBI, got an RBI strikeout in the top of the second inning after he swung and missed, then made it to first after the ball got past Mountlake Terrace catcher Wyatt Alleman. Austin Hines scored from third base on the play.
“They just put the ball in play,” Blair said. “The thing I think (that helped us) more than anything is our team speed. Guys are beating stuff out, guys are putting pressure on the defense and that’s what’s helping us more than anything. ? We teach aggressiveness. We teach to utilize our speed. Not waiting for things to happen makes things happen.”
It was the second almost-spectacular comeback for Mountlake Terrace (0-1, 3-3) this season. The Hawks lost to Cascade 12-9 on March 15 after trailing 12-1 at one point in that game.
“We’ve had that happen before,” Watters said. “We hung in there. We got the tying run up to plate. We play them again (Wednesday) and hopefully we gain some momentum from that. We’re not going to quit.
“At some point, I think we want to try to not be in that situation though,” Watters added with a laugh.
The Hawks’ Quintin Barnard batted 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored and Jason Shevenko — who was hit by two pitches, one of which shot off his batting helmet — was 1-for-3 with an RBI triple and a run scored.
“Quintin with the doubles and Shevenko, those were big hits. Those guys are good hitters,” Watters said. “? Quintin is a captain and leader of the team. It’s good to see him hit a couple doubles. I think that might get him going.”
At Mountlake Terrace H.S.
Glacier Peak 525 000 2—14 23 1
Mountlake Terrace 000 422 0—8 8 1
Mitch Pohrman, Cody Campo (4), Casey Welch (4), Tanner Braun (6) and Connor O’Donnell. Ben Reijonen, Connor Clausen (2) and Wyatt Alleman. WP–Pohrman. LP–Reijonen. 2B–Branson Barnecut (GP) 3, Sean Elledge (GP), Marcos Baruch (GP), Alleman (MT), Quintin Barnard (MT) 2. 3B–Elledge (GP), Jason Shevenko (MT). Records–Glacier Peak 1-0 league, 5-1 overall. Mountlake Terrace 0-1, 3-3.