Friday Harbor's baseball squad finished its season among Class 2B's top eight teams Saturday, May 21 at Adna. The Wolverines (17-4) rallied for six runs in the seventh inning for a 6-4 victory over Tri-Cities Prep (18-5) in a state regional first-round game. Toutle Lake (20-5) stopped Friday Harbor's playoff run by topping the Wolverines 9-3 in the regional final.
The Wolverines started the season young and inexperienced but finished stronger than most anticipated.
Friday Harbor senior Austin Grimes receives a congratulatory five from teammate Henry Arnold (17) after rapping a base hit during the Wolverines' 6-4 victory over Tri Cities Prep Saturday, May 21. Photo by Matt Pranger
“Except for a couple of hiccups this year, they over-achieved,” said head coach Rich Warin. “It’s a pleasant surprise the way they gelled and played above expectations.”
“We’re proud of the growth, hard work and dedication we saw,” said assistant coach Steve Schramm. “They rallied over and over again.”
“We had a good year,” said Austin Grimes, the team’s only four-year player. “It was the first time I went to state, so it was a great way to end the season of my senior year. It was a lot of fun.”
Grimes and his teammates were about as cheerful as the gray, rainy morning after they made several defensive miscues against Tri-Cities and six zeros were posted on Friday Harbor’s line on Adna High School’s scoreboard. The Jaguars scored three runs on three hits and three errors in the first inning and added another run in the third. Friday Harbor's offense sputtered early in the game but left the bags full in the sixth before erupting in the seventh.
"Unbelievable. That's the most momentous comeback in Friday Harbor baseball history," Warin said.
"Our guys lived up to the old saying: 'You got to believe,'" said Friday Harbor Schramm said.
“I was extremely excited,” Grimes said. “It was a big surprise. We came back and showed them what we could do.”
Seven consecutive Wolverine batters reached base in Friday Harbor’s big inning against the Jaguars. Freshman Nick Clark reached base on balls and Grimes and junior James Guard punched singles. Clark scored after sophomore Henry Arnold was hit by a pitch. Junior Eli Cooper-West worked a walk, and junior Jesse Payne, a pinch runner for Grimes, crossed home. Junior Kai Herko belted a double deep drive off the left-fielder’s glove, knotting the game 4-4. Sophomore Rio Black singled down the third-base line, plating the winning run and an insurance run.
Herko, who went the distance for the win, struck out the first two batters in the bottom of seventh before giving up a triple. The next batter popped out and the Wolverines celebrated the victory that guaranteed them at least a top-eight finish.
Remaining steady throughout the Wolverines’ shaky defensive start, Herko struck out 10, walked one and allowed six hits.
Toutle Lake advanced to the final with a 4-0 first-round win over Napavine (12-13). The Ducks scored a run in the first inning and added three in the third. The Wolverines rallied for three in the top of the fourth but the Ducks scored two in the bottom of the fourth, one in the fifth and two in the sixth.
Herko smacked a single and double and Black doubled in two runs for Friday Harbor. Junior Corbin Williams rapped a base hit and sophomore Jackson Pieples drove in a run.