By David Krueger Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — Snohomish hadn’t had a lot of luck against crosstown rival Glacier Peak in sports this year.
On Saturday afternoon the Panthers’ baseball team ended that streak.
After the Grizzlies won handily in football and boys basketball, Snohomish made sure that Glacier Peak would not be victorious in baseball too as the Panthers defeated Glacier Peak 15-4 in a nonleague game.
Snohomish scored six runs in the fourth inning to get the lead and kept piling on the rest of the way.
“I think the kids were pretty jacked because there was a very long game in football this year and a very long game in basketball,” said Snohomish head coach Kim Hammons. “They felt that this score was OK.”
The Glacier Peak football team defeated Snohomish 43-7 on Sep. 7 and the basketball team won by an even bigger margin, 64-18, in both teams’ season opener on Nov. 27.
Hammons called the first official baseball game between the two teams a “pride game” for his players, as well as the Snohomish coaching staff, which used to include, among others, Glacier Peak head coach Bob Blair.
“This is the first game that actually counted. I really like their coaches. They coached with me in that state championship year (2008). Yes, I wanted to come out on top,” Hammons said laughing.
Kyle Gionet and Mitchell McCulley helped provide the offense that ensured Snohomish did just that. Gionet batted 3-for-5 with two triples, two RBI and two runs scored and McCulley put an exclamation mark on the victory with a three-run home run to right field in the top of the seventh.
“(McCulley’s) got a lot of power,” Hammons said. “He’s 5-8, 195 pounds and he hits. He led our team in hitting last year. Thank goodness the wind was blowing out.”
Hammons also said that Gionet’s performance on Saturday was a first in his storied coaching career.
“I think that’s the first time — that I recall — ever coaching a player that hit two triples in one game,” Hammons said. “It was great for Kyle. Kyle has been hitting the ball hard in the first game and a half, but right at people. Today he hit a hard groundball at the shortstop to start off and then he banged a triple and he got another one.”
Snohomish had to reverse an early 4-0 deficit. Glacier Peak third baseman Branson Barnecut hit an RBI double in the bottom of the first, and a three-run triple with the bases loaded in the second inning to account for all four of the Grizzlies’ runs.
His third and fourth time up to the plate he was walked, once intentionally.
“He’s been our best hitter so far,” Blair said. “He went 3-for-4 against Lynnwood and he went 2-for-2 today. Every base hit he’s had has been an RBI extra-base hit. He’s been our best offensive tool.”
The two teams’ fortunes flipped in the fourth inning. The Snohomish batters finally got to Glacier Peak starter Tanner Braun while the Grizzlies’ offense couldn’t get anything going against Panther relievers Russell Crippen, who earned his first win of the season, and Ben Dmochowsky.
“That’s the way baseball is sometimes when the wheels come off,” Blair said. “There’s just no stopping it. We played fine up through the first three innings, couple errors here and there, and all of a sudden you’re down. That’s just the way baseball is sometimes.”
Hammons said his lineup settled down a bit after its first time through the order, which helped it score 15 runs in the last four innings.
“I think our guys went through the order the first time and then they made some adjustments,” Hammons said. “Some were a little overanxious, a little overaggressive. … Then finally they relaxed and somehow the balls found holes. Their confidence grew and they started hitting the ball all around the park.”
Glacier Peak (1-1 overall) will try to rebound in its final nonconference game against Kamiak on Monday. Blair said it’s a long season and the Grizzlies just need to put this early game behind them.
“Just play within yourselves and try not to make a bigger deal out of things than they are,” Blair said. “It’s only the second game of the season so we just put it behind us and move on. Just take from it what you can and you just move on. There are still 18 games left to play in the regular season.”
Win or lose, the Snohomish (1-1) team was just happy to be playing with minimal precipitation falling from the sky. The Panthers have already had one game this year called after four innings because of inclement weather and played their other game, an 8-2 loss to Eastlake, in the rain.
While Snohomish may have gotten used to playing in the rain, after the game Hammons was pleased that the only rain the two teams experienced on Saturday was a light sprinkle in the top of the fifth inning. He didn’t complain at all about the high winds that blew throughout most of the game.
“We’ve played in the rain for a game and a half and it was kind of nice to only have a half-inning of rain,” Hammons said.
At Glacier Peak High School
Snohomish 000 640 5—15 13 2
Glacier Peak 130 000 0—4 5 4
Tanner Arrington, Russell Crippen (3), Ben Dmochowsky (5) and Ben Johnston. Tanner Braun, Mitch Eatmon (5), Casey Welch (7) and Connor O’Donnell, Mitch Pohrman (5). WP–Crippen (1-0). LP–Braun. 2B–Dmochowsky (S), Branson Barnecut (GP). 3B–Kyle Gionet (S) 2, Barnecut. HR–Mitchell McCulley (S). Records–Snohomish 1-1 overall. Glacier Peak 1-1.