Mike Olson isn’t leaving any second guesses on the baseball diamond.
It’s been one year since Bonney Lake missed out of the 3A state baseball tournament after coach Olson made a gut decision and sat staff ace Grant Townsend in the opening round of the West Central District III playoffs.
The result was a loss to Wilson, forcing a series of one-and-done games Bonney Lake couldn’t escape.
No more second guessing this year.
“Our offense has been really hitting the ball well lately,” Olson said. “We went with Zac (Horne) in the first game because we’re taking this seriously. We’re a young team, but we’re just putting our heads down and rolling with it right now.”
Still, the result was the same.
Bonney Lake (16-5) ran into was a brick wall after Kelso’s No. 2 starter Cody DeRosier one-hit the Panthers in a 2-0 shutout in the night game at Auburn High. The win secured the Hilanders a state berth.
Bonney Lake advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Auburn, 8-4, in the afternoon game. Kelso (14-6) advanced after ace Yancy Bird (7 innings, 11 strikeouts, 3 hits, run) helped the Hilanders defeat Wilson, 2-1, in the morning game at Auburn High.
“Kelso’s a good team all the way up and down their lineup,” Olson said. “They really brought their gloves to the (game tonight).”
Bonney Lake is back in the same predicament as last year. A loss and the Panthers’ season’s is over.
To secure their first spot in the 3A WIAA state bracket since Bonney Lake finished second to O’Dea in the championship game in 2014, the Panthers must win two games next week and reach the WCDIII No. 5/No. 6 seeding game next Saturday.
First up for Bonney Lake is Hazen, which defeated Shelton 12-2 in five innings at Kelso High. The Panthers will play next Wednesday at 4pm at Heidelberk Park.
With the win, Kelso will move on to face (Enumclaw/Kennedy winner) in the quarterfinals on Saturday at Auburn Riverside High.