By Casey Donovan For The Enterprise
Burlington-Edison held a 2-1 Tigers lead over Archbishop Murphy heading into the bottom of the fifth inning of Saturday’s regional championship baseball game at Martin Stadium. But B-E errors and walks combined with clutch Wildcats hits vaulted the Cascade Conference champions to a 8-2 win.
The Wildcats advanced to the 2A state semifinals May 29 at County Stadium in Yakima.
Ty Kane, who had not thrown in a game since the regular season finale against Cedarcrest more than two weeks ago because of a back injury, pitched a complete-game, four-hitter and was dialed in from the start.
“We have been here three years in a row and to do it my senior year is awesome,” Kane said, unaware if he would be able to pitch after leaving a bullpen session on Tuesday with only seven pitches thrown. “It just started to feel better and better.
“I was able to locate my fastball early on. That helped me out a lot from start to finish,” said Kane, who faced 26 Tiger batters. “My fastball was hitting the corners and my curve really helped me through the first part of the game.”
B-E, a 3-2 winner over Centralia in its previous game Saturday morning, took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Chris Vivancos’ double down the right field line drove in David Erickson, who singled to lead off the inning.
Tigers starter Reed Perry held off the Wildcats, who began the day with an 11-2 win over North Mason, thanks in part to a stingy defense which contributed a run-saving, diving catch in the second inning.
But the Tigers defense began to deteriorate down the stretch, committing two errors in the bottom of the fifth that led to two runs for Murphy. With runners on first and second, Jon Varriano hit a grounder to third and a routine double play was missed because the second baseman charged expecting a bunt. The hesitation cost B-E when Keanan Albright grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Connor Huesers. Kane then launched a towering fly ball that started toward center field but carried all the way over to right field and landed in between two Tiger outfielders, allowing a second run to score in the inning.
After Kane struck out the leadoff batter in the top of the sixth, Erickson drilled a fastball over the left field fence to tie the score at 2-2. Kane didn’t seem fazed by the shot, getting back-to-back groundouts to end the top half of the inning.
Then the Wildcats broke the game open, scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on a combination of four hits and back-to-back errors.
“We hit the ball hard the entire game, but we finally were able to hit them where they were not late in the game,” Wildcats head coach Stan Taloff said. “They executed some things well early in the game, not as well late in the game and that cost them.”
A four-pitch walk to Matt Huggins started the inning and, three batters later, Varriano stepped to the dish with the bases loaded. B-E brought in left-hander Jordan Reed and Varriano rocketed the second pitch he saw onto the warning track in center field to score two. Kane drew an intentional walk to reload the bases and Hines stroked a double off the right field fence to score two more. Jacob Oster and Huggins provided RBI singles to extend the Murphy lead to 8-2.
“We have been clutch all year,” Kane said of the Wildcats late-inning run production. “It’s just how we do it, we don’t ever give up.”
“After what happened last year, it left a sour taste in our mouth,” Taloff said. “We had so many of those juniors returning as seniors and there is no way that they wanted that to happen again.”
Casey Donovan writes for the Herald in Everett.