Jackson’s Ben Steck (left) is congratulated by Bradley Lundquist after scoring during the Timberwolves’ 8-2 win over Mount Si in a loser-out Class 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament opening-round game Thursday at Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Jackson’s Ben Steck (left) is congratulated by Bradley Lundquist after scoring during the Timberwolves’ 8-2 win over Mount Si in a loser-out Class 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament opening-round game Thursday at Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Jackson baseball team rallies to keep season alive

Dominant relief pitching and an offensive outburst lead the T-wolves past Mount Si in a loser-out game.

EVERETT — Things took a turn south for the Jackson baseball team in the fourth inning of Thursday’s win-or-go-home contest.

Ace pitcher Case Matter exited with an arm issue. Mount Si jumped in front to take the lead. And the Wildcats were threatening to add on.

But with a shutdown relief performance by freshman Dominic Hellman and a fifth-inning offensive outburst, the Timberwolves rebounded to keep their season alive.

Jackson exploded for a six-run fifth inning to beat Mount Si 8-2 in a loser-out Class 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament opening-round game at Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium.

“We’d seen the (pitcher) a couple times around, and I thought we got good at-bats and we didn’t miss what we had given to us,” Timberwolves coach Kirk Nicholson said of his team’s fifth-inning eruption. “No more fly balls. We hit some line drives. We had our top three guys back-to-back-to-back (with) some great (hits), and after that, we just kind of got everything done.”

The victory advanced Wesco No. 3 seed Jackson to the double-elimination portion of the 12-team bi-district tournament, setting up a quarterfinal matchup against KingCo No. 2 seed Inglemoor at 10 a.m. Saturday at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. The top five finishers in the bi-district tournament earn 4A state regional berths.

“Our mindset going into this game (was) win and you get to play (at least) a couple more games,” Hellman said.

Jackson freshman Dominic Hellman pitched 3 2/3 innings of no-hit ball in relief. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Jackson freshman Dominic Hellman pitched 3 2/3 innings of no-hit ball in relief. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Jackson led 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning when Matter — the Timberwolves’ top pitcher — exited the game early with a pair of runners on base.

“Case had a little bit of tightness two days ago,” Nicholson said. “… (In) that fourth inning, he went out there and we saw something was wrong.”

Mount Si’s Cam Ferreri, the ensuing batter, promptly lined a two-run double to the fence to give the KingCo No. 6-seeded Wildcats a 2-1 lead.

Then after a hit batter put another runner on base, Jackson (15-6) handed the ball to Hellman. The tall freshman right-hander escaped the jam and steadied the Timberwolves, pitching 3 2/3 innings of no-hit ball in relief. He struck out two, walked one and retired 11 of the 12 batters he faced — including the final nine to close the game.

“My freshman was fantastic,” Nicholson said. “I thought Dominic was unbelievably good. Came in, mixed up his pitches — fastball, changeup, curveball. No one ever got a clean look at him. I thought he did great.”

Jackson’s Jeremy Vierra reaches out to catch a fly ball. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Jackson’s Jeremy Vierra reaches out to catch a fly ball. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Jackson had just two hits through four innings, but that quickly changed with its six-run outburst in the fifth. The Timberwolves opened the inning with six consecutive singles and sent 11 batters to the plate in the frame.

“I had my best batters up, and they did a nice job,” Nicholson said. “My top guys all hit the ball hard.”

Matter and Ben Steck began the fifth-inning eruption with back-to-back singles, and Jeremy Vierra followed by driving in the game-tying run on a groundball base hit past a diving Mount Si second baseman. Ryan Contreras and Bradley Lundquist then added back-to-back run-scoring singles to give Jackson a 4-2 lead.

Chris Grayson drew a bases-loaded walk later in the frame, and Matter broke the contest wide-open with a line-drive two-run single to make it 7-2.

Jackson entered the postseason having scored six runs combined in its previous four games. The Timberwolves matched that total Thursday in the fifth inning alone.

Matter, Contreras, Lundquist and Jaggar Endresen each finished with a pair of hits for the Timberwolves.

“(We had) really good at-bats,” Nicholson said.

Jackson struck first in the opening frame, taking an early 1-0 lead on a two-out single by Contreras. That remained the score until Mount Si (9-12) jumped in front in the fourth.

But just when things began turning south for the Timberwolves, Hellman was there to stop the damage and help them get back on track.

“Dom came out and pitched very well,” Contreras said. “… I thought that was very clutch, especially (with) Case not feeling his greatest. It was really huge.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright (50) was deemed by the readers as the most important unrestricted free agent for the team to re-sign. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
POLL RESULTS: Wright is the priority free agent

Nearly half the responders said LB K.J. Wright should be at the top of the Seahawks’ re-signing list.

Arlington's Jack Sheward is hit in the leg as O'Dea's David Sessoms slides in for the tying run as Arlington lost 7-6 to O'Dea in a 3A baseball state regional game at Sherman Anderson Field on Saturday, May 18, 2019 in Mount Vernon, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
WIAA releases more season plans, local schedules to differ

The WIAA announced dates for Seasons 2 and 3. Wesco, Emerald Sound and others have their own plans.

Montana State head coach Jeff Choate walks on the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Who will become UW’s next defensive coordinator?

Here’s a look at some possible candidates to replace the departed Pete Kwiatkowski.

FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2016, file photo, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. Thompson, whose 13-year run as Green Bay Packers general manager included their 2010 Super Bowl championship season, died Wednesday, Jan 20, the team announced Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. He was 68. Thompson was Packers general manager from 2005-17 and drafted many notable players on the current roster, including two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
Former Seahawks, Packers executive Ted Thompson dies

The 68-year-old was Seattle’s vice president of football operations from 2000-04.

Bill to expand sports betting introduced in state Legislature

A similar proposal failed last year, but supporters say the new effort has bipartisan support.

Third-place finishers Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker pose with their medals in the championship ice dance at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Community sports roundup: More medals for local ice dancer

Kamiak graduate Jean-Luc Baker earns a bronze medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Washington State offensive lineman Abraham Lucas (72) looks on during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Utah Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Archbishop Murphy grad Lucas will return to WSU next season

The All-Pac-12 second-team offensive lineman from Everett opts not to declare for the NFL draft.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll tosses a football before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Pete Carroll should stay — and reexamine the way he does things

It’s time for the highly successful Seahawks coach to re-evaluate what’s best for the team.

Seattle Mariners J.P. Crawford, left, and Kyle Lewis run together off the field against the Oakland Athletics in a baseball game during the Mariners home opener Friday, July 31, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Mariners ready to take ‘step forward’ in 2021

The ‘step back’ rebuild that began in 2019 is starting to see results at the big-league level.

Most Read