Greg McCorkle
Three runs score in one play for the Wildcats 7-4 win over Chief Sealth.

SLIDESHOW: Big fifth inning for West Seattle leads to win over Sealth

Getting off to a hot start Chief Sealth generated three runs in the first inning and one in the second to take a four nothing lead in the second game of the west side matchup between the Seahawks and the division leading West Seattle Wildcats. In the first matchup the Wildcats scored two runs and broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning to win 5-3.

Trying to keep their playoff hopes alive the Sealth Seahawks looked like they were going to split the series, but the Wildcats showed why they’re leading the division. Steady play, make few mistakes, and remain confident that the bats will show up. West Seattle head coach Velko Vitalich was not disappointed in the play of his squad. The Wildcats didn’t panic. That calm paid off when Wildcat bats came alive in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded #18 for West Seattle hits a base clearing RBI single to close the gap to 4-3. The Seahawks get out of the inning but the momentum was swinging towards West Seattle.

Trying to quell the momentum by West Seattle, Seahawk head coach Ernest Policarpio pulls starter Blaine Steele and inserts reliever Jake Eddy to the mound. Unfortunately Eddy struggled, loading the bases in the bottom of the fifth inning. That’s when Sam Hellinger #1 stepped up to the plate and hit a bases clearing RBI single that put the Wildcats up 6-3. Adding insult to injury later in the inning a throwing error to second base brought in another run to extend the West Seattle lead 7-4.

The one defensive highlight for Chief Sealth came in the fifth when #24 Tim Adams for West Seattle tipped his hand by taking too much of a lead off of third base. Showing he was going to attempt to steal home, reliever Jake Eddy pitched out to catcher Nick Jaramillo who charged up the baseline to tag Adams out ten feet from the plate saving a run.

In the bottom of the sixth inning Eddy found his rhythm, fanning all three Wildcat batters to keep the game to a three run deficit.

But in the seventh the odd call bug, that has been haunting the Seahawks all season, showed up again when second baseman Michael Haferman, racing towards the second base bag after an easy on base single by the next Sealth batter, slide into second base and his foot went over the bag in the direction of the West Seattle shortstop. A little known rule called by the infield umpire resulted in a double play for West Seattle. The rule is intended to keep base runners from intentionally spiking a base defender. The call resulted in both base runners being called out without any defensive play being made. While this rule is meant for safety, Haferman didn’t look like he was making an intentional move towards the player covering the bag. His foot simply went over the top of the bag. Whatever the umpire’s intention was, the result was a momentum killing call that took the wind out of the Seahawks, and they fell 7-4.

The Wildcats, who improved their record to 15-4 overall and a 14-2 division record, will advance into the playoffs. They have one more game at home against Bishop Blanchet on Monday.

The Seahawks- who have one more game against Bainbridge Island on Monday at the SWAC- will watch the playoffs from the sidelines, ending a season that many thought would have a different outcome.

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