SNOHOMISH — Dominic Hellman keeps clobbering baseballs.
And after sweeping its rival, the Jackson High School baseball team stayed in control of the Wesco 4A race.
Hellman blasted his sixth homer of the season and drove in five runs, helping the visiting Timberwolves earn a 12-4 win to complete a three-game sweep of Glacier Peak on Friday afternoon.
“We had one mentality going into this rivalry (series) and it was just to win, win and win,” Hellman said.
With just four teams in Wesco 4A this season, league play is condensed into a three-week sprint.
Two-thirds of the way through the league race, Jackson (14-4, 5-1 Wesco 4A) holds a 1.5-game lead over second-place Kamiak (11-3, 3-2). Those two teams are slated to close league play against each other in a three-game series next week.
Kamiak also has to finish a suspended game against Lake Stevens. Depending on the result of that game, the Timberwolves would need to win either one or two games against the Knights next week to clinch the Wesco 4A crown.
“All I know is that our mentality going into Kamiak is that we’re still looking to sweep,” Hellman said. “… We have a job to do. We’re gonna try to take the league and we’re gonna try to sweep Kamiak.”
Hellman, a power-hitting 6-foot-6 senior shortstop and elite high school prospect, continued his dominance at the plate with another massive performance.
The University of Oregon signee went 2-for-3 with two missiles off the bat. He lined a blistering two-run double into the right-center field gap in the fifth inning and demolished a three-run homer that soared well over the left-field wall in the seventh.
It capped a spectacular series for Hellman, who tormented Glacier Peak by going 7-for-9 with two homers, a double and 10 RBIs in the three games.
“He’s just a really special player,” Jackson coach Kirk Nicholson said.
Hellman, ranked by Baseball Factory as the No. 71 senior recruit in the nation, batted a scorching .585 with five homers and 11 extra-base hits during last year’s abbreviated 13-game season.
Nicholson, who has coached future major leaguers during his 28-year career at Jackson, said he’d never witnessed a season like it.
And this spring, he’s been just as impressive.
Through 18 games, Hellman is batting .582 with six homers, two triples and nine doubles. He has a .676 on-base percentage and an absurd 1.145 slugging percentage.
“Just see ball, hit ball,” Hellman said of his approach. “(I’m) not trying to do too much — not trying to launch-angle the ball up. I’m just hitting through the ball, and eventually it’ll just carry.”
Left-handed pitcher Aiden Lundquist started for the Timberwolves and tossed four shutout innings. With help from his defense, the senior worked around four hit batters, a walk and two hits to keep the Grizzlies (10-7, 2-4) off the board.
“Aiden got in jams, (but) kept getting out of them,” Nicholson said. “(He) did a great job.”
It was an error-filled game on both sides, with Glacier Peak committing six errors and Jackson comitting four.
But the Timberwolves offset their miscues with several nice defensive plays to escape trouble, including a strikeout-throwout double play in the sixth inning.
“I thought our defense stepped up,” Nicholson said. “We got some outs when we needed to get outs. … Everyone’s gonna look at the scoreboard and look at all the runs we scored. Truth is, how many runs did we stop? I think that was really big.”
Jackson capitalized on a pair of Glacier Peak errors during a three-run third inning, needing only one hit to build a 3-0 lead. Hellman scored the third run by drawing a walk, stealing second, taking third on a wild pitch and then coming home on an errant throw.
The Timberwolves added three more runs in the fifth. After Ryan Nakajima reached on an error and Hunter Komine grounded a double down the left-field line, Hellman drove them in with his two-run double. Carson Burns then brought home Hellman with a bloop double to right field, extending Jackson’s lead to 6-0.
Glacier Peak scored a run in the fifth and was threatening for more, putting runners on second and third with two outs. But the Timberwolves avoided further damage when Nakajima made a running catch in right field to end the inning.
The Grizzlies added two more runs in the sixth, trimming the deficit to 6-3 on two hits and two errors. And with runners on first and third with one out, they were threatening to pull closer.
But once again, Jackson escaped the jam.
Reliever Tyler Heinrich struck out the batter on a curveball and catcher Braden O’Donnell threw out the runner at first base on a back pick for a key inning-ending double play.
“My catcher did a fantastic job today,” Nicholson said. “… He had a great week.”
In the top of the seventh, Hellman launched his three-run blast to highlight a six-run inning that gave the Timberwolves a commanding 12-3 lead.
Burns and Komine also had two-hit games for Jackson.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do still,” Nicholson said. “There’s some things that we have to (clean) up if we’re gonna win in the playoffs. … There’s things that we have to get better at and a mindset that we have to get to.”
During his postgame interview, Nicholson was most excited about finding out this week that his team has a 3.5 grade-point average in the classroom.
“(That’s) bigger than anything else,” Nicholson said. “That tells you a lot about the kids.”
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