Knights score series split with Bulldogs | BaseballKamiak also wins thriller against Bishop Blanchet
Isaiah Shigematsu had to make a split-second decision.
With one out and the score tied at 3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Kamiak catcher was on third base when Justin Park hit a sharp grounder to the second baseman.
Shigematsu broke for the plate and beat the throw to score the winning run, as the Knights defeated Blanchet 4-3 in a nonconference baseball game Saturday, April 1, at Kamiak High School.
“I knew the infield was in,” Shigematsu said. “I saw the ball was in between the first and second baseman. I knew that forehand play was a tough thing for that guy. I could take that base.”
Kamiak coach Kevin Agnew tells his players that with one out they can be aggressive on the base paths. But Agnew admitted that he would not have sent Shigematsu home.
“Afterward, he (Shigematsu) said ‘Coach, the ball got hit to his glove side and you always say when that happens they are not going to make a good throw, so I went,’” Agnew said. “He had a good answer. … He just made a really good read. I would not have sent him on that.
“With one out, you can be a little more aggressive. We talked to them about that. No outs – don’t be aggressive. He had a good jump. He did what he was supposed to do.”
Saturday’s victory wrapped up a winning weekend for the Knights (1-1 in the league, 4-3 overall), who defeated Mount Vernon 4-0 in a Wesco 4A game Friday, March 31 at Sherman Anderson Field in Mount Vernon.
Kamiak lost 12-3 to the Bulldogs Thursday, March 30, in its league opener at Kamiak High School.
Earning a series split with the Bulldogs on Friday was a big deal for the Knights, said Agnew, who is in his first season as head coach.
“We got beat pretty ugly on Thursday and especially with a new coaching staff and a new group of guys, it could have been real easy for these guys to throw their hands up and say this isn’t going to work,” Agnew said. “They didn’t. They came right out the next day. They played a great game against Mount Vernon. We pitched really well. We played good defense.”
The Knights committed 4 errors in Thursday’s league opener but didn’t have any miscues in Friday’s win. Second baseman Ty Crosby and shortstop Park both made key defensive plays, Agnew said. “The two of them played great.”
Sophomore Bryce Cote and senior Levi Ouellette combined for the shutout. Cote pitched the first four innings and Ouellette closed out the contest.
“He (Cote) threw a lot of strikes. He was ahead of guys,” Agnew said. “Then Levi Ouellette came in after him. He’ll kind of be our late inning guy, who we’ll go to.”
Ouellette got into a little trouble by issuing a walk but eventually came back and shut down Mount Vernon.
“He really settled in and did a nice job,” Agnew said. “Both of those guys pitched really well. Anytime they got into a little bit of adversity, they pitched through it.”
The Knights faced a little early adversity against Bishop Blanchet, which took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Kamiak scored 1 run in the second and 2 runs in the third to tie the score.
“We were kind of flat,” Shigematsu said. “We spotted them those 3 runs early on, but our team kind of stuck our foot in the dirt, battled back and said ‘Today we’re fighting back for that W.’”
Agnew liked the way his players responded to the loss to Mount Vernon and the early deficit against Bishop Blanchet.
“The big thing is that we’re really resilient,” he said. “That’s what we talk about – being selfless and relentless. They were relentless this week.”