By David Krueger Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — In its first week of the season, the Snohomish Panthers baseball team seemingly has everything going its way.
Just ask Glacier Peak, the Panther’s latest opponent.
In a pitcher’s duel, Snohomish got an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning — which proved to be the game-winner when Glacier Peak’s rally came up short in the seventh. The Panthers held on to defeat their crosstown rival 3-2 Saturday afternoon at Snohomish High School.
It’s already Snohomish’s second one-run victory this season.
“To go 3-0 this week and to win two one-run ballgames, it’s a tribute to this team and all the things they can do,” Snohomish coach Kim Hammons said. “I’m really, really pleased. This week was good. Today it was a hustle play that actually won this ballgame.”
That play came in the sixth when Logan Baker hit a two-out double — the lone extra base hit of the game. Garrett Stich followed that with a slow-rolling ground ball to second base. Stich beat the throw and Baker scored all the way from second base on the play.
The run gave Snohomish a 3-1 lead, which was fortunate for the Panthers since Glacier Peak scored once in the top of the seventh inning.
“Both guys have pretty good wheels,” Hammons said of Baker and Stich. “That play right there gave us that third run and we needed it.”
The game wasn’t without its share of controversy, which also went Snohomish’s way. In the top of the fifth inning, Glacier Peak loaded the bases with nobody out. Hammons brought in Andrew Conrad to pitch and Conrad got a popout before Branson Barnecut came to bat for the Grizzlies.
Barnecut hit a ball that appeared to go off his foot — which would make it a foul ball. But Snohomish third baseman Ben Dmochowsky — who had started at pitcher for the Panthers — made a heads up play, grabbing the ball and throwing it home to start an inning-ending double play that quickly eliminated scoring threat.
Glacier Peak head coach Bob Blair pleaded with the umpire to reconsider. The umpire did not change his ruling.
“It went off his foot,” Blair said. “I was asking the ump about the ball going straight down into the ground and shooting out to the infielder like that. Without hitting somebody’s foot, I was asking him to tell me how that happens.”
Unsurprisingly, Hammons had a different view of the play.
“That was a true groundball to third base,” the Snohomish coach said cracking a smile. “Just ask the umpire.”
That controversial play wasn’t the only reason for the Grizzlies’ loss, Blair said. His team had other chances to score but couldn’t.
“Ultimately, yeah that hurt us. But that’s baseball,” Blair said. “We had opportunities even without that. We had other opportunities that we could have capitalized on. So I’m not blaming it on that. Obviously, that didn’t help things, but we had chances.”
One of those chances came in the final inning, when Glacier Peak loaded the bases with one out. Barnecut again came to the plate, and belted a deep fly ball that was caught by Baker right up against the fence in right field.
Hammons was more than a little nervous during the play.
“My first thought was, ‘Oh darn.’ I thought for sure that ball was going to be off the fence at the very minimum,” Hammons said. “But Logan Baker, our left fielder, made a game-saving catch.”
Chris Watkins scored on the sacrifice fly. Conrad then got a Glacier Peak batter to hit a pop fly that was caught to end the game.
“We had a good part of our order coming up,” Blair said. “We had the guys in scoring position with our three and four (hitters) coming up and it’s just one of those days. It just wasn’t meant to be today.”
Conrad and Dmochowsky held Glacier Peak hitters in check throughout the contest, scattering three hits. Andrew Kane also pitched for Snohomish in the fifth inning before being relieved by Conrad.
“We’ve got good starting pitching. Ben Dmochowsky gave us four pretty good innings,” Hammons said. “And Andrew Conrad coming in with the bases loaded and nobody out in the fifth inning was key. He got a pop up and we got a double-play ball.”
Blair agreed both teams had strong pitching and praised Glacier Peak’s Jake Lundin and Cole Walchenbach for their mound performances.
“I was real happy with our pitching. I thought they did a great job,” Blair said. “Snohomish is a great-hitting team and our pitchers did a great job. They kept them off balance. Both teams had guys out there that were painting around the dish and getting close and keeping guys on their toes. It was a great baseball game.
“This is what baseball’s all about.”
It was the second-consecutive win for Snohomish against its crosstown rival. The Panthers also beat the Grizzlies 15-4 last season at Glacier Peak High School.
“Last year we played up there, this year down here and it’s gone our way two years in a row,” said Hammons. “But baseball, being what it is, it can change pretty fast.”
At Snohomish H.S.
Jake Lundin, Cole Walchenbach (5) and Geoff Rogers. Ben Dmochowsky, Andrew Kane (5), Andrew Conrad (5) and Gavin Bullock. WP–Dmochowsky. LP–Lundin. 2B–Logan Baker (S). Records–Glacier Peak 0-2 overall. Snohomish 3-0.