The Timberline High School baseball team used its nonleague road matchup with Curtis to get pitchers some mound time before the playoffs. It was an opportune time to provide playing time for more inexperienced players and rest some regular contributors.
Blazers junior Austin Whalen not only got plenty of playing time Friday, but he used it to carve himself a role heading into the final games of the regular season and beyond.
Whalen took the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning and he shut down Curtis though the bottom of the ninth in Timberline’s 3-2 win.
Striking out four over the final four innings with only two hits given up, Whalen halted a Curtis offense that couldn't capitalize on Timberline's two errors.
The Blazers were a bit more advantageous when a throwing error by the Vikings catcher tied the game at 2 with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth.
Curtis junior pitcher Tristan Beard got a triple in the second inning but was left stranded when the third out followed him. Beard had three of Curtis' six hits. Overall, the Vikings left seven on base.
In the bottom of the ninth, Curtis got on base early with a fielder's choice single but was subsequently picked off on a sharp move by Whalen.
The Lions (14-1; 10-0) remain unbeaten in 3A SPSL play and moved a half-game ahead of Bonney Lake (14-1; 9-0).
The two teams play a two-game series, starting with the first game at 4 p.m Wednesday at Bonney Lake. They then head to Auburn Mountainview for a 7 p.m. game at Thursday.
Auburn Riverside fell to 4-11 overall and 3-6 in 3A SPSL play.