Unheralded Hazen pitchers lead the way past Evergreen, into the playoffs
Hazen baseball coach Chris Chiechi knew he had a legitimate ace and a couple of strong role players on the pitching staff. What he didn’t know is that in a late-season game, he would get great innings from a sophomore and a senior that hadn’t pitched in 2008.
The Highlanders rode the combined shutout of sophomore Nick Sharp and senior C.J. Waite to an 11-0 win over Evergreen on Wednesday.
Sharp pitched four and two thirds innings for the Highlanders (11-3 overall, 11-2 Seamount League). Sharp struck out nine, allowed just three hits and looked nearly unhittable at times. In the first three innings, Sharp struck out six of the first nine batters he faced.
“He [Sharp] hasn’t had a chance to throw a lot this season,” Chiechi said. “He did a good job out there today.”
Before the top of the fourth inning, rain showers started, threatening to delay the game, then subsided after a few minutes. In that inning, Sharp also weathered a small storm when he allowed the first two Evergreen batters to reach base on singles. Sharp then struck out the next three batters to keep the shutout going.
With two outs in the top of the fifth inning, Chiechi brought Waite in to pitch. The lefty struck out three batters in an inning and a third and didn’t allow any base runners. Waite missed time early in the season with an illness and just recently came back to the team at full strength. Wednesday’s relief appearance was his first time pitching this season.
“It was the first time we’ve seen him out on the mound in a game situation this year,” Chiechi said. “And he did really well. He might be a secret weapon for us moving on.”
The Wolverines (1-10, 1-12) struggled on defense throughout the game and committed six errors. The mistakes allowed Hazen to extend innings and tack on extra runs.
Nathan Bunch, Justin Jacobs and John Wall each scored two runs and hit a double.
Hazen played at Mount Rainier Friday night in the regular season finale. The Rams (17-1, 13-0) are in first place in the league and are the only Seamount team that Hazen hasn’t defeated this season. Mount Rainier beat Hazen 8-3 on April 2.
After an opening game 7-0 loss to Liberty, Hazen ripped off six consecutive league wins before the Mount Rainier loss.
“The kids just played great,” Chiechi said. “We pretty much dominated the first half of the season, then the Mount Rainier loss, then we played a close 2-1 game against Highline.”
The Highlanders have already secured second place in the Seamount, a trip the Seamount/SPSL sub-district tournament May 2-3 and a berth into the West Central District tournament starting on May 6.
Adam McFadden can be reached at email@example.com or 425-255-3484, ext. 5054.