The Washington High School baseball team is one win away from its first state trip in 25 years.
A pitchers’ duel between broke down in the seventh inning when errors allowed the Patriots to cash in for three runs, as they went on to win 3-0 and keep their season alive with the 2A West Central District tournament victory against River Ridge on Wednesday at Franklin Pierce.
Clayton Parfitt came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh, and he singled to center field, bringing home two runs.
“That was the greatest feeling of my life,” Parfitt said. “To know that I could pick myself up and pick the team up when I need them, it’s a great feeling.”
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Parfitt’s contributions on the mound may have been more crucial. Last week, River Ridge 10-runned Washington, 14-4.
Wednesday was different, as Parfitt shut down the Hawks’ offense, pitching a complete game. He did so efficiently, entering the fifth inning throwing just 49 pitches. He finished the game with four strikeouts.
Parfitt was assisted by fantastic defense from his teammates. The Hawks had a great chance to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning when Matt Morgan led off with a walk.
Blake Anderson laid down a sacrifice bunt. Washington third baseman Kyle Bastrom fielded the bunt and threw to first base to get the out. Morgan tried to take third on the bunt and Bastrom back-pedaled his way to the bag, received a throw from Justin Sinor and applied the tag for the out. The 5-3-5 double play halted the Hawks.
“We know that our defense is our stronghold,” Washington coach James Stippich said. “We can’t wait to get on defense at times because we know that’s what’s going to win us the game.”
River Ridge pitcher Ben Maratita had been dealing. He finished with 10 strikeouts for the Hawks, but it also forced his pitch count to get high, as he had to leave the game in the sixth.
Jeter Larson came on in relief, inheriting the bases loaded with no outs. He struck out the first two batters he faced before Parfitt was able to drive in the Patriots’ runs.
“The problem was in the beginning innings, the pitch count got up and that hurt him in the long run,” River Ridge head coach Chad Arko said. “We had to pull him toward the end anyway because of pitch count. When you don’t score any runs, you can’t win any basebal games.”
The loss put an end to River Ridge’s season.
Washington advances to play Port Angeles at Franklin Pierce on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. — with one more win securing the Patriots of what would be their first trip to the state tournament since 1991.