Bonney Lake’s Grant Townsend didn’t allow a hit in eight innings, and his team lost.
Auburn Mountainview’s Justin Marsden flashed a low-90s fastball and a nasty curveball and struck out 10 in seven innings.
They were largely why about 15 college and major league scouts were on hand.
The Auburn Mountainview High School baseball team didn’t get its first hit until the top of the ninth inning after Townsend had left, and Ikaika Nahaku doubled to the wall in left field with two outs to drive in what turned out to be the game-winning run from third base.
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Blake Mallory earned the win by forcing a ground out with a runner at third base in the bottom half of the inning as the Lions took a 2-1 3A South Puget Sound League victory against Bonney Lake in nine innings on Wednesday.
“We wanted this probably more than we’ve wanted anything,” Marsden said. “I felt like this would be a good championship game.”
Auburn Moutnainview (15-1-1 overall, 11-0 3A SPSL) took sole possession of first place with three games to play and handed Bonney Lake (15-2, 10-1) its first league loss.
And they play again at 7 p.m. Thursday at Auburn Mountainview.
But it will be hard to top the pitching performances from both sides.
Townsend, a Central Arizona College commit, mixed a low-90s fastball, slider, change-up and the occasional curveball to keep Auburn Mountainview hitless through eight innings. He struck out nine and walked three on 101 pitches.
All that and his team trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Auburn Mountainview’s Garrett Neiss scored in the third inning on a wild pitch after he drew a walk two batters earlier.
Marsden was just as good. The potential MLB draft prospect (Auburn Mountainview coach Glen Walker said he’s heard Marsden could go as high as the third round) said he hardly noticed all of the scouts in attendance.
“We are kind of used to it now,” Marsden said. “But it’s a little different watching all the (radar) guns come up at the same time.”
Marsden walked leadoff hitter Matthew Gretler in the bottom of the seventh. Gretler was sacrificed to second base and reached third on a wild pitch.
Robby Pogue send a grounder to second base. Instead of risk not getting Gretler running for home, Neiss threw to first to get Pogue for the second out.
That tied the game at one going into extra innings, where Townsend continued his no-hitter through the eighth. He was pulled for Taylor Graham after that.
“It’s tough, but it happens. Sometimes you get unlucky breaks,” Townsend said of his team losing despite his gem on the mound. “But I’m still proud of the no-hitter and I thought my team played really well. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”
Marsden was pulled for Mallory after the seventh after striking out 10, allowing five hits and walking five on 117 pitches.
“I asked if I could finish it out but (Walker) said, ‘No,’ because I was getting up in my pitches,” Marsden said. “So he pulled me and put me at shortstop and I was OK with it because it was for my team.”
Walker was most impressed with Marsden’s curveball. He also throws a circle change-up.
“He was as good as I’ve seen,” Walker said. “I’ve sat down and tried to catch (the curveball). You think it’s going to hit the guy and then all the sudden it’s on the other side of the plate. It’s a late break, high spin. It’s an impressive pitch.
“But he has to be able to throw it consistently for strikes. When he does, he becomes really, really, really tough.”
Josh Swanson got Auburn Mountainview’s first hit of the game with a single to left field in the ninth off Graham. Marsden sacrificed him to second, but Swanson was tagged out on Hudson Byorick’s grounder to third base.
It looked like Bonney Lake would get out of the inning when Graham threw to first to pick off Byorick, who took off for second on Graham’s throw.
But the throw from first baseman Riley Miller to get him at second sailed high and into left field, allowing Byorick to reach third.
Then, with two strikes, Nahaku lined a double to the wall in left field.
Bonney Lake’s Ethan McElderry doubled in the bottom of the ninth and reached third when Zach Lewandowski struck out on a pitch in the dirt. But Graham grounded out to second to end the game.
“This was huge, just to prove that we are the best team in the league,” Nahaku said. “And we showed it.”
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