With the season hanging in the balance, the Bonney Lake High baseball team escaped with a 3-2 win over league rival Peninsula on Saturday at Heidelberg Park, snapping a five-game losing streak.
Bonney Lake (16-6) came into the consolation matchup with Peninsula (7-15) sluggish, needing a win after losing to Wilson (12-10) in the opening round of the Class 3A West Central District 3 tournament, setting the Panthers up in a loser-out game with the Seahawks.
And after a dominant performance from senior starter Grant Townsend, the Panthers prevailed and eliminated the Seahawks from the postseason.
"We’re going to scrap to the end, and I really think we’re going to take that fifth spot," Townsend said. "It all starts here."
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Townsend picked up the win after throwing six innings with eight strikeouts and two earned runs. Bonney Lake will face Kennedy Catholic (15-5) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Heidelberg Park.
"He was hitting his spots really well, as his off-speed was definitely working for him," catcher Ethan McElderry said.
The same struggles were there in Bonney Lake’s win Saturday evening, particularly the Panthers’ lack of ability to pick up that key clutch hit.
After Robby Pogue smacked a one-out double to set up runners at second and third for McElderry, Bonney Lake ran itself out of the inning. Riley Miller was nailed at home trying to score on a wild pitch, and McElderry ended the inning flying out to left.
Peninsula went up 2-0 in the third when Ryan Russell drove in a pair on an RBI single off Townsend, but Bonney Lake was able to strike back in the fourth inning.
Pogue hit into a fielder’s choice to set up runners at the corner with one out. With two outs, Steven Hansen hit a slow dribbler that when the shortstop made the throw to first, it pulled Seahawks starter Jimmy Ritchie off the bag, allowing Miller to score from third.
Pogue hustled all the way around the bases, and was called safe at home in his second attempt to touch the plate.
"It was a crazy play — as soon as I saw the soft ground ball, I’m trying to bring him (Pogue home)," Bonney coach Mike Olson said. "He kind of hesitated coming around and kind of got stuck. He did a great job competing."
In the top half of the seventh, Zach Lewandowski hit a two-out double to set up the go-ahead run. Freshman Matthew Gretler worked out a walk, but on the called ball four, Lewandowski stole third and the resulting throw allowed him to come in for the winning run.
"He wasn’t looking over at me and no one was holding me on, so I decided to take it," Lewandowski said. "They were basically giving it to me."
Kyle Jones picked up the save with a perfect seventh to give Bonney Lake a much-needed victory.
"When you lose five in a row, I don’t care how you do it, it feels good," Olson said.
Sumner splits in Kelso
After Sumner High picked up a 4-1 win over Capital (12-10) in the opening round of the WCD III tournament at Kelso High, the Spartans came up short in the quarterfinals.
Facing the home team and seventh-ranked Kelso (16-3), Sumner just couldn’t stop the firepower of the Hilanders’ offense as the Spartans fell, 8-6, in the nightcap. Kelso earned an automatic berth to the state tournament.
The loss has Sumner (16-6) set up to face North Thurston (11-11) in a loser-out game at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Auburn Mountainview High.