Matt Mercer’s fantastic start was only trumped by his finish.
The Timberline High School junior pitcher faced the minimum number of batters through the first three innings. He followed that by retiring the final eight batters he faced before stepping off the mound, his day done after six innings of work.
Tony Ortiz and Tyler Gartner took over from there, combining to pitch a scoreless seventh with both posting a strikeout.
No, the Blazers didn’t give Bainbridge a lot of scoring opportunities. Turns out, the Spartans didn’t need many.
Brett Green’s two-run double in the fourth was all Bainbridge needed to put away Timberline as the Spartans claimed a 2-1 victory in the opening round of the Class 3A regional baseball tournament Saturday at Ed Wheeler Field.
The defeat ends the Blazers’ season at 23-3.
Timberline finished with six hits — all singles. Three of the hits failed to leave the infield, two coming on bunts and the third on Blake Nystrom’s grounder to second that the senior was able to leg out.
Nystrom’s hit scored Chris Roy, cutting the Blazers’ deficit to 2-1 in the fourth inning.
It marked the lone hit Timberline would get with runners in scoring position as the Blazers went 1-for-7 on the day.
In his six innings, Mercer gave up four hits while striking out seven with no walks.
He surrendered a first-inning hit to Green, the Spartans’ No. 3 hitter and starting pitcher, but picked him off first to end the inning.
Mercer notched four strikeouts through the first three innings.
Bainbridge (21-3) opened the fourth with back-to-back singles before Green’s blast to the right-field corner drove in both runners to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead.
It was one of the few miscues by the Bainbridge senior, who also picked up the win, giving up four hits and striking out six in six innings.
After Green’s double, Mercer quickly rediscovered his groove, retiring the next eight batters he faced.
Ortiz took over for the Blazers to start the seventh inning.
Bonney Lake 6, Glacier Peak 1; Bonney Lake 7, Shelton 0: For the second time in Bonney Lake High School’s nine-year history, the Panthers are playing in the final four.
Cory Burrill allowed one run in a complete-game two-hitter to lift Bonney Lake against Glacier Peak, and Kash Koltermann one-upped him with a two-hit shutout against Shelton.
“I’m just so thrilled for our kids,” said Bonney Lake coach Mike Olson. “It was a great day and just a culmination of what they’ve done the past four years. They deserved this.”
Oregon State-bound shortstop Michael Gretler kickstarted Bonney Lake against Glacier Peak with an RBI single in the first inning, and Taiki Green later added a two-RBI double.
Oft-used senior TJ Potts led the way against Shelton with two hits, including a two-run single in the seventh to push Bonney Lake’s lead to 5-0.
Olson said Potts had about 20 at-bats during the regular season after sitting out all of last season because of a separated shoulder.
“Suddenly at practice this week he was just locked in and killing it,” Olson said. “We were talking about what to do and said, ‘Let’s give TJ a shot.’ The kids loved it, and it was great for him.”