All Nate Packard needed get through his Saturday start was 101 pitches.
And when Emerald Ridge HIgh’s ace was done, Packard had accumulated 14 strikeouts in a one-hit, complete game victory over Bonney Lake, 7-1, in a 3A-4A South Puget Sound League nonleague crossover game.
Packard did it using only two pitches.
“I didn’t have the feel on my change-up, so I pretty much stuck with my fastball,” Packard said. “I just kept moving it around so they couldn’t sit on one spot. My curveball was used early a few times to get ahead of them.”
Bonney Lake (8-2) scored its only run off an error in the third.
Throughout the game, Packard would use his two-pitch mix to fool and get ahead of Bonney Lake’s hitters, forcing lots of ugly swings.
That’s their No. 1 guy going out today. We went from 50 miles per hour earlier in the week to mid-to-upper 80s today. We haven’t seen someone that good on the mound until today.
Bonney Lake coach Mike Olson on Nate Packard
Packard had 17 first-pitch strikes, rarely falling behind hitters and often overpowering them during their at bats, leading to nine swinging strikeouts.
“That’s their No. 1 guy going out today,” Bonney Lake coach Mike Olson said. “We went from 50 miles per hour earlier in the week to mid-to-upper 80s today. We haven’t seen someone that good on the mound until today.”
Emerald Ridge (8-2) did almost all of its damage on offense with two outs in the first inning. After the Jaguars loaded the bases with their first three batters, Bonney Lake starter Nathan Fahsel nearly escaped the jam.
Fahsel only needed one strike, but a fastball found too much of the plate and Dustin Resnik hammered a two-run double to clear the bases and give the Jaguars a 2-0 lead.
Fahsel walked Kyle Stueckle, and two pitches later, Emerald Ridge first base baseman Chad Gideon sent a hanging fastball 340 feet over the left field wall for the Jaguars’ first home run of season.
“It felt great to get that one. I honestly didn’t think I had enough on it, but it kept carrying,” Gideon said.
Bonney Lake’s pitching locked in from there, but the damage was already done as Emerald Ridge ended the first with a 6-0 lead.
It’s good to see him (Chad Gideon) get something today. He’s been working really hard to improve his hitting.
Emerald Ridge coach Larry Marshall
“It’s good to see him (Chad) get something today. He’s been working really hard to improve his hitting,” Emerald Ridge coach Larry Marshall said.
The lead was all Packard needed as his dominance was too much for Bonney Lake, as the senior finished his complete game a with perfect seventh after striking out the side.
“That was his last batter he was going to face,” Marshall said of Packard’s final inning of work. “He had a high count today, but he can do it. He has the experience and endurance to go out there like he did today.”
Fortunately for Packard, he’ll have six days between starts, Marshall added.
Seventh-ranked Emerald Ridge travels to top-ranked Puyallup on Friday (April 8) at Heritage Field in a 4A SPSL South battle of the league’s top teams.
The projected matchup is ace vs. ace: Packard goes up against Puyallup’s Chris Micheles.