TACOMA – Wyatt Tonkin has coached for more than a quarter century and yet has never experienced a more crushing end to a game. To make it even worse for the Tonkin and his team, that game was the Class 3A state championship.
The T-Birds blew a 2-run lead with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning as Mount Si prevailed 5-4 Saturday afternoon at Cheney Stadium.
“I just told them to keep their heads up and that we played a good game,” said a visibly devastated Tonkin. “It just wasn’t meant to be.”
While the second-ranked T-Birds (23-3) did capture their highest finish ever at state, they’re left wondering what might have been after suffering their first defeat of the season to a 3A team. A 21-game winning streak vanished almost as quickly as Shorewood’s infield defense did in that final frame against the No. 5 Wildcats (22-3).
Ben Andrews’ pair of errors at third base triggered the 3-run inning.
With Dustin Breshears at third and Robb Lane at second with two outs, Tim Proudfoot singled to score both. Proudfoot reached second on Andrews’ errant throw.
“We threw one that we should have held on to, but Ben was trying to make a play,” Tonkin said.
After a Trevor Lane single, KingCo 3A player of the year Max Brown hit the ball at Andrews – who made another error, allowing the winning run to score.
“It was just like lightning,” said Tonkin about sudden nature of the mishaps. “I just feel bad for the guys because they deserved to win that one.”
Henry McAree (10-2), a junior, threw Shorewood’s second complete game in as many days. He allowed seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts, retiring eight consecutive batters at one point.
“Henry pitched his fanny off – he deserves more than that,” said Tonkin, who led the T-Birds to their highest previous finish (third) in 2001.
Washington commits Blake Snell (three-hitter, 10 K’s) and Trevor Mitsui (game-winning 2-run single) had been the difference in Friday’s 2-1 win over No. 1 Camas.
But despite Mitsui’s two RBI’s, the duo struggled Saturday – going a combined 1-for-7. Mitsui (who entered the weekend with a .712 batting average, .856 on-base percentage and 1.635 slugging percentage) even struck out, which Tonkin said had happened only one other time this year.
In the first inning, the Wildcats got exactly what they wanted in the first inning: Brown at the plate with multiple runners in scoring position. He promptly singled past a diving Andrews, scoring first-team all-league selections Proudfoot and Trevor Lane.
A 41-pitch second inning ensured that Mount Si starter Reece Karalus (six strikeouts, five walks) wouldn’t be around long. He lasted five innings before giving way to Trevor Taylor.
Andrews, Cameron Sterne and Mitsui collectively fouled off at least a dozen pitches in that second inning. Mitsui wound up walking with the bases loaded for Shorewood’s first run.
Shorewood tied it at 2 in the fourth on Mitsui’s RBI single up the middle, plating Christian Heideger.
Max Jacobs’ 2-run blast over the leftfield wall in the fifth gave the T-Birds their first lead at 4-2. “He got a fastball up and he put a charge in it,” Tonkin said.
Junior Duncan Hendrickson, second on the team in home runs, average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, was held to one hit. The T-Birds, who returned seven starters off last year’s fourth-in-state team, stranded 20 runners in the two days.