The Montesano Bulldogs placed fourth in the state after a 3-1 loss to Cedar Park Christian in the third/fourth-place game of the 1A State Baseball Tournament on Saturday at Joe Martin Stadium in Bellingham.
The Bulldogs (22-5 overall) fell behind early after a leadoff walk followed by back-to-back one-out RBI singles from Adam Haight and Keller Standish put the seventh-seeded Eagles (21-6) up 2-0 in the top of the first.
Monte had a chance to score in the bottom of the second, loading the bases with one out. But hard-throwing Cedar Park starter Luke Moisant struck out Jackson Busz and Bode Poler to end the threat.
Neither team would score again until late in the game, with Moisant and reliever Lleyton Daily locked in a pitcher’s dual with Monte starter Busz and reliever John Griffin, who combined to scatter two hits and a walk over the next five scoreless innings.
“Jackson Busz struggled in the first inning finding the umpire’s strike zone,” Monte head coach Mike Osgood said. “He then settled in and pitched a great game.”
In the top of the seventh, a leadoff walk followed by a sacrifice bunt put Cedar Park’s Samuel Bradshaw at second base with one out. Bradshaw advanced to third and later scored on two passed balls to put the Eagles up 3-0.
With Monte staring down potentially its last at-bat of the season, the Bulldogs rallied. Designated hitter Cam Taylor drew a leadoff walk and was replaced by courtesy-runner Tyson Perry.
Infielder Jaxson Wilson singled to push Perry to second with one out.
After a fly out by catcher Denali Harris, Busz singled on a Daily full-count pitch to score Perry to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Poler then walked, representing the tying run at first base with outfielder Kaleb Ames the winning run at the plate.
But Ames grounded into a fielder’s choice to Haight at short, who flipped to Connor McClean at second to end the game.
“We get a run and get bases loaded, but are unable to get the hit to tie the game up,” Osgood said, adding his offense struggled against Eagles pitching. “We faced two guys who had good velocity and made things difficult for us.”
Monte managed just five hits — all singles — and drew four walks while striking out eight times as a team in the game.
Moisant got the win, allowing no runs on three hits, two walks and four strikeouts in four innings pitched. Daily got the save, surrendering one earned run on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts in three innings of relief.
Busz took the loss, allowing two earned runs on six hits, three walks with a pair of strikeouts over his five innings of work.
Griffin pitched a scoreless, hitless sixth, striking out a batter in the process with Johansen allowing an unearned run on a walk with one strikeout in pitching the top of the seventh.
Osgood said after a brutal loss in the state semis a day earlier, he was proud of the Bulldogs’ response.
“After the heartbreaking loss Friday, I was pleased with the attitude and effort today,” he said. “The guys did well trying to put Friday behind them and battled a really good Cedar Park Christian team. “
With the loss, Monte finishes fourth in the state, an accomplishment Osgood said his players should be proud of.
“This group accomplished something in making it to the Final Four that most high school baseball players don’t ever get to experience. So there is a lot to be proud about this year and for the future,” he said. “We lose six seniors who all played big roles for our squad. They were great leaders and brothers on the field. We thank Christian Olsen, Denali Harris, Josh Wills, Jackson Busz, Kaleb Ames and Johnny Kling for their time as Bulldogs and celebrate their success.”
Cedar Park Christian 200 000 1 – 3 6 0
Montesano 000 000 1 – 1 5 2
WP: Moisant (4 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K). LP: Busz (5 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 2 K). SV: Daily (3 IP, R, ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K).
Leading hitters: CPC – Standish (2-3, RBI); Haight (1-4, R, RBI); Daily (1-2). Montesano – Wills (1-3); Ames (1-4); Olsen (1-3); Wilson (1-2); Busz (1-3, RBI).