Prep baseball: Jackson qualifies for state tourney

EVERETT — On an afternoon of less than perfect baseball, the Jackson Timberwolves were steady enough and certainly opportunistic enough to defeat Monroe in a semifinal game of the District 1 Class 4A tournament.

Jackson’s 5-0 victory Monday clinches a spot in Thursday night’s district championship game against Lake Stevens and, more importantly, assures the Timberwolves of a place in the upcoming state tournament.

“My kids are great kids, and they’ve been battling all year,” said Jackson coach Kirk Nicholson, whose team will head to state for the third straight year. “All year long we’ve said, ‘Hey, guys, just keep the path, do what’s right and don’t worry about league play.

“We wanted to be ready for these two (district tournament) games because if you win two games at the end of the year, you go to state. And our guys did a nice job of that.”

The Timberwolves won behind the strong outing of starting pitcher Jaris Beasley, who checked Monroe on just three hits, and an offense that managed only four hits but took advantage of three walks and six costly Bearcat errors.

One of those errors was more costly than all the rest — if it actually was an error, that is.

After scoring once in the third inning, Jackson pushed across four unearned runs in the fifth, including three runs that scored on the game’s most pivotal and certainly most controversial play. The Timberwolves loaded the bases with no outs and got their first run of the inning, and their second of the game, on a four-pitch walk to Jeremy Spring.

Alex Baumgartner followed with a bouncer to Monroe shortstop Dakota Ralph. His throw to catcher Joseph Goguen forced out Jackson’s Joakim Soderqvist coming down the line from third, but Goguen’s throw to first base for a double play attempt sailed down the right field line.

Two runs scored initially, and when the ball kicked past right fielder Andy Zimmerman in the corner Baumgartner hustled around for the inning’s fourth run.

Bearcats coach Eric Chartrand was immediately out of the dugout, contending that Soderqvist had bumped Goguen.

“The kid obviously hit my catcher’s arm,” Chartrand insisted later, “and that was not called. … That’s a throwing error that’s really not an error because his arm got hit while he was trying to throw. But the umpire said he didn’t see that portion of the play.”

It was, Nicholson said, a “tough call there at home plate where they threw it away.”

That play aside, the Bearcats still made five other errors, including two others in Jackson’s four-run fifth. Only one of the Timberwolves’ five runs was earned.

Monroe had been playing good defense late in the season, Chartrand said, “but these kids had never been here (in the playoffs) before and I think it caught up with them. We had a lot of nerves, and the mistakes we made we don’t normally make.

“We played a really good baseball team and we made too many mistakes,” he said, “and that’s going to cost you a ballgame.”

Otherwise, the difference in the game was Beasley. He allowed no more than one base runner an inning in his six-plus innings (other than two in the first, the result of an error), and no Monroe runner reached third base until the seventh when Beasley was on the bench.

“I was sort of struggling in the beginning, but in the later innings I felt better,” said the senior right-hander. “I wasn’t at my sharpest, but I had a great defense behind me backing me up.”

Jackson’s defense was particularly sterling in the fourth, with Soderqvist making a headlong diving catch to take a leadoff hit away from Goguen. After a Bearcats base hit, T-wolves third baseman Aaron Avalos made a tough snag near the bag of a hard smash by Monroe’s Patrick Siler and turned it into a terrific 5-4-3 double play.

In the end, “it was a hard-fought game,” Nicholson said. “I’m not sure we were any better than them, but I think some things just bounced our way.”

At Everett Memorial Stadium

Jackson 001 040 0—5 4 2

Monroe 000 000 0—0 3 0

Beasley, Wingert (7) and Kiel; Siler, Spahman (6), Murphy (7) and Goguen. WP—Beasley. LP—Siler. Records—Jackson is 13-7. Monroe is 7-15.

More in Sports

Culture change leads Everett football to winning ways

The coach’s challenge and the players’ response has the Seagulls on the verge of the playoffs.

Seahawks’ Clark reflects on teammate Avril’s injury

The young defensive end and protege of the veteran sees how suddenly careers can change.

Stanwood wrestler Phillips commits to North Carolina

The senior verbally commits to join the Tar Heels after receiving interest from other major programs.

Silvertips struggling to turn shots into goals

Everett is creating more scoring chances than its opponents but needs to convert chances into goals.

BLOG: Some WHL tidbits from a day between games

The Everett Silvertips skated Thursday following a Wednesday loss and in anticipation… Continue reading

Cougars to face top Pac-12 rushers in 3-week span

Washington State will have their hands full as they prepare for the conferences top rushing threats.

Huskies coach Petersen applauds work ethic of walk-on

John Gardner, a walk-on, is catching the eye of the Huskies head coach.

Capsules for the key prep football games in Week 8

Arlington-Oak Harbor; Everett-Meadowdale; Lakewood-Sedro-Woolley; Stanwood-Marysville Pilchuck

Prep football picks for Week 8

STEVE WILLITS Co-host of Prep Sports Weekly Lynnwood over Marysville Getchell Edmonds-Woodway… Continue reading

Most Read