Wildcat pitcher Sam Hellinger played the entire game but despite his best efforts the West Seattle Wildcats lost to Timberline 5-0. CLICK THE PHOTO ABOVE TO SEE MORE
SLIDESHOW:Timberline shuts out West Seattle 5-0
By Kaelyn Sayles
On Saturday morning, the Timberline Blazers shut out the West Seattle Wildcats 5-0 in the 3A State Baseball tournament game.
It was a disappointing game for the Wildcats as dropped balls and missed catches sealed their fate.
“It was a tough game,” said West Seattle head coach Velko Vitalich. “We hurt ourselves. We weren’t fundamentally as good as we’ve been all season and it cost us, and if you don’t score a run, you’re not going to win many games. So, give the other team credit, and I think all our guys think we can play better than we did today.”
The lead was made early in the game. Timberline scored four runs in the first inning alone, and then their fifth and final run in the second.
But despite the lead, West Seattle didn't give up, getting hits, attempting to steal bases and striking out Timberline batters.
West Seattle junior Sam Hellinger pitched the entire game, and Vitalich said he's excited to be able to work with him next season.
“ was outstanding all year,” Vitalich said. “He hit great. He was a warrior on the mound. He deserved better today. They might have had one earned run out of the five. You just got to give it to him…as good a season as any kid’s ever had for me, and I’ve been around here for 26 years, so it’s pretty impressive.”
Vitalich seemed like he was in a pretty good mood after the game, acknowledging that it didn't go the way they wanted, but understanding they will be able to work hard and come out again next year.
He's happy they were able to have the opportunity to play in State, and told the guys they should be proud, too.
As the team huddled together after the game, Vitalich had some final words for his players.
“I told them they had a great season. They went to state; this is the third year in a row,” Vitalich said. “We didn’t play our best ball today, but when you look back on it you’re going to be very proud of the season they had. I mean, we had our ups and downs, but we had a great season and I think once they get over the hurt of this, they’ll realize that.”
All five West Seattle seniors (Luke Wiggins, batting ninth, Kyle Herard, batting second, Mike Whickham, batting seventh, Jeff Freeman, batting first, and Tim Tinkler, batting fourth) were in the starting lineup for their last time.
Vitalich said he couldn’t be more proud of his seniors and wishes them well.
With the seniors gone, the Wildcats will look to the younger players to step up next year. Vitalich seems confident in where the team can go from here.
“We just get stronger and get some leadership from the juniors that are going to work hard. The kids are going to go play summer ball and we’ll get at it next,” Vitalich said.
Unable to bounce back from trailing 5-0 after the second inning, the balls may not have fallen where West Seattle wanted them to during this playoff game, but according to their head coach, they’ll be able to work hard and have another go at it this time next year.
Timberline will play the 1:00 game winner of Mount Vernon vs. Eastside Catholic.
For more 3A State Baseball bracket information, visit: http://www.wiaa.com/Brackets/T125.pdf
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