Archive for April, 2013

The Garfield Bulldogs honored their senior class of Tavish Fenbert, Chandler Honican and Hayes Gorecki by going out and scrapping to win a pitchers duel over Newport 1-0. The Newport Knights starting pitcher was knocked out of the game in the 1st inning by a ground ball deflecting off his glove and hitting his face. The player was removed as a precaution due to concussion-like symptoms. Although the Bulldogs didn’t hit much off the Newport relievers, they were able to put the ball in play (only 1 strikeout in 6 innings of offense) and steal some bases to put runners in a position to score.
The run was scored when Justin Arkills-McLain reached on an error, advanced to 2nd base on a sac bunt by Eli Wilson, then tagged and moved up to 3rd base on a deep fly to left field by Derek Billey, and then scored on a clutch RBI single by Ben Koerner in the bottom of the 4th inning. Gorecki was the true star of the game, recording a double and a single. He also pitched a complete game shutout, striking out 9 and scattering just 6 hits. Chandler Honican made a great play on a groundball in the hole at shortstop at one point during the game. Eli Wilson made a nice grab on a line drive at 2nd base. The Bulldogs defense successfully recorded an out on what appeared to be a botched squeeze play by the Knights early in the game. Duncan Skerrett saved the game with a leaping catch in the left-center field gap in the 7th inning to allow Gorecki the opportunity to retire the final hitter, rather than be lifted for a relief pitcher with the game on the line.
With a win today, the Bulldogs have earned a playoff spot by virtue of a head-to-head tie-breaker over rival Roosevelt. Both teams were 5-10 in league play, with the Bulldogs now 6-13 overall. Saturday marks the start of the Kingco 4A baseball tournament with all quarterfinals games being played at Woodinville High School. This is the first time Garfield has qualified for the Kingco tournament since the school joined the conference in 1997. Garfield’s final regular season game is a nonleague game at Hale on Wednesday afternoon.
Garfield’s JV lost a heartbreaker 6-5 after heading into the 7th with a 1-run lead over Newport. Atticus Pennylegion-Hurley, Michael Greenstein, and David Brinkley pitched for the JV Bulldogs. Garfield JV is now 1-13 in league play, 3-15 overall. Their next game is Tuesday afternoon at home against Bothell and then they finish with a nonleaguer on Wednesday at home against Hale.

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The Garfield Bulldogs put up a 4-spot in the 3rd inning on a series of free passes and singles to take a 4-run lead that held up thoughout the remainder of the game. Roosevelt responded with 2 runs in the 3rd and 1 run in the 6th, but Garfield pitchers Justin Arkills-McLain and Owen Vickrey were able to strand most of the Roughriders scoring threats. Arkills-McLain pitched 5 gutsy innings for the Bulldogs and got the win. Vickrey picked up the save, limiting damage in the 6th inning and shutting the door on Roosevelt in the 7th. The defensive for the Bulldogs was excellent with Hayes Gorecki making several crucial 2-out plays at 3rd base and freshman Eli Wilson making many important plays throughout the afternoon at 2nd base.
Gorecki had a hit and 2 stolen bases in the game. Alex Chase had RBI in the 3rd inning, followed by RBI singles to left by Arkills-McLain and Ben Koerner. Aidan Nuttall contributed 2 hits for the Bulldogs. The offensive attack was balanced with 8 Bulldogs players reaching base, and marked the 1st time since playing Roosevelt in late March that Garfield had scored more than 3 runs in a ballgame.
Garfield (5-13 overall) moves into a 3-way tie with Roosevelt and Newport for the final divisional playoff spot. All 3 teams are 4-10 in Kingco play after today’s action, with Garfield owning the head-to-head tie-breaker against rival Roosevelt 2-0. Garfield has an opportunity on Monday afternoon at home to earn its 1st Kingco tournament berth with a victory over Newport. Senior Day pregame ceremonies start around 3:45pm to honor the Bulldogs senior class of Chandler Honican, Hayes Gorecki, and Tavish Fenbert.
Garfield JV lost 3-2 at home against Roosevelt. Atticus Pennylegion-Hurley hurled 3 scoreless innings for the Bulldogs and had 1 hit and 2 RBI. The JV Bulldogs fall to 3-14 overall, 1-12 in league play. Their next game is on Monday afternoon at Newport.

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April 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Is this heaven? No, it’s high-school baseball

Posted by Don Shelton

By Bill Kossen / Seattle Times staff

When he was 13, Bill Kossen tried out for a baseball team and had high hopes of making it. But he struck out looking at three pitches in his only at bat and made a throwing error on the only ball that came to him. He then got cut and never tried out again. “”But I don’’t dwell on it,”” he says year after year. ““I’’ve moved on.”

Want to take yourself out to a ballgame where there is plenty of good action, you can sit in the front row, your appearance is appreciated and it’s free?

Batter up and head on out to a high-school baseball game. These guys are really good and hardly anyone outside of their coaches, parents, friends and occasional fans that drop by probably know it.

It might have something to do with Seattle’s often-rainy, cold, windy spring weather that can play havoc with schedules and fan comfort, and because the games start right after school when many people who would like to watch them can’t because of work or whatever.

But thanks to the use of synthetic turf and in some cases synthetic dirt, the weather isn’’t as big a factor as it used to be. That leaves you with one less good excuse.

So let me tell you what you’’re missing. I recently went to a high-school baseball game, the first I’’ve seen since I was in high school and I’’m sure not going to wait that long again to see another.

It was the Garfield-Eastlake game. I probably wouldn’’t have gone if not for running into Garfield’’s varsity baseball coach, Chris Moedritzer, at basketball and football games, where he would be selling baseball caps to raise money and drum up interest in his team.

I’’d buy a cap, and he’’d say thanks and encourage me to come out and watch a game. Sure, I’’d reply, thinking I might drop by some time for an inning or two, figuring he would quickly forget about me and my halfhearted promise.

Surprise. When he saw me at the game, he recognized me right away and said hi. And why wouldn’’t he? I was one of only four fans in the Garfield bleachers at the beginning of the game. Kind of stood out in that crowd. (More showed up later, while the Eastlake Wolves arrived at Garfield Park with more than a dozen fans.)

So I sat down next to Tony Barker, a former high-school and college baseball player from Minnesota. Barker, a counselor at YouthCare in Seattle, told me that he lives in the neighborhood and likes to drop by and catch a game from time to time.

Several Garfield parents sat at a table behind the bleachers, keeping score, operating the PA system and even handing out game programs that included a short story on the upcoming game and season, plus player bios.

A reggae song boomed out of the PA speakers as the Bulldogs took infield practice before the first pitch. A warm breeze and short shots of sun broke through the clouds on a day that began with torrential rain.

What a great day for baseball, I thought. Let’s play one. The song ended, and it was game time.

“Welcome Garfield baseball fans!” came the greeting from announcer Brian Chase, whose son Alex is on the team. “Attendance today will rival the Mariners last night.”

That got a big laugh from the crowd, which was even smaller than the M’’s record-breaking sparse turnout the night before. And that turned out to be a big bonus for fans. We could hear everything being said on the field. Not only the ump crying out balls and strikes and the usual chatter among ballplayers, but we also could hear the players muttering about calls that didn’’t go their way and hear their teammates trying to calm them down so they wouldn’’t be tossed out of the game.

How fun. Here we were, sitting for free in seats so close to the field they could cost more than $1,000 if they were in the new Yankee Stadium. Instead we were at “”Historic Garfield Park”” as it said on the new scoreboard.

This was the same field where many, many years ago (long before I was born) a family legend was born. My grandfather, who lived across the street, was watching a game when a baseball bat the size of a small log slipped out of a batter’’s hand and somehow ended up in Grandpa’’s hands. He was a tough, strong old dude who worked as a blacksmith when he was younger, so I’’d like to think he just put up his hand and grabbed that big bat out of the air as effortlessly as that guy who caught a foul ball in his beer cup the other night at the M’s game.

I have that old bat, a “Spalding B1” that looks like something Babe Ruth might have used, except that a big chunk of it down by the nub was sawed off so we could swing it as kids. I took it to the game to see if it could work some magic. It did.

The first three innings was a classic pitchers’’ duel between Eastlake’’s Connor Graham and Garfield’’s Justin Arkills-McLain, with both teams playing solid defense that rivaled what you would see at Safeco. The infielders smoothly turned double plays and snared hot line drives, outfielders chased down long fly balls and the pitchers hummed along with good control and fastballs that might have broken 80 mph. It all added up to some exciting, well-played baseball.

““I’’m impressed with the fundamentals,”” Barker told me more than once.

Then, in the bottom of the third, Hayes Gorecki came to the plate, wearing the Garfield purple and white.

““Let’’s go, Purple Hayes!”” someone yelled. The clever reference to the song by Garfield’’s Jimi Hendrix was followed by Gorecki getting on base and eventually coming around to score.

That however, seemed to wake up Eastlake’’s offense, too. The visitors pounded out eight hits and took advantage of a few Garfield errors on their way to a 6-1 KingCo 4A victory, although the game seemed much closer and more exciting than the score would indicate. Coach Moedritzer was gracious in defeat, praising the Eastlake pitcher.

““He was effective in that when we did hit it hard, it was always right at someone,” Garfield’s coach said. “He pitched a great game against us.””

And it was a great game. Instead of only sticking around for an inning or two, I stayed for the entire game. It was over too soon.

Let’’s play two!

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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To start the ballgame off, the Ballard Beavers and Garfield Bulldogs each put up single runs in the 1st inning. Ballard torched Bulldogs starter Hayes Gorecki in the 2nd inning for 5 runs, but “Purple Hayes” settled into a groove afterward, throwing 4 shutout innings to end his start on a very positive note. The Bulldogs were able to scrap together a couple more runs in the 3rd inning to make it a 6-3 ballgame, but were unable to score off the Ballard bullpen. The final score was 6-3 with both teams swinging the bats well and playing good defense all afternoon. Gorecki led the Bulldogs with 3 hits, including a double that went all the way to the fence in left field. Ben Koerner added a double. Alex Chase had 2 hits and 2 RBIs.
Garfield has been swinging the bats better as of late. The pitching has been solid all year and hopefully the defense will stay tough with the Bulldogs having a much different lineup now than at beginning of season due to injuries. Garfield closes out the Kingco schedule against the 2 other teams they need to catch in the standings for the final playoff berth. Roosevelt and Newport are tied for the final spot, 1 game ahead of the Bulldogs with everyone having 2 games left to play. Skyline, Ballard, and Issaquah are jockeying for seeding in the playoffs so they will be going hard to the finish line as well. Garfield (4-13 overall, 3-10 in league) will play at Lower Woodland against Roosevelt on Friday afternoon.
The JV Bulldogs lost at Ballard 9-5. Henry Freed went 1 for 2, with 2 walks and a run scored to lead the Bulldogs offensively. Garfield JV (3-13 overall, 1-11 in league) will play at home against Roosevelt on Friday.

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The Issaquah Eagles clinched a playoff spot in their 9-2 victory over the Garfield Bulldogs. The Eagles got on the board early, scoring on a throwing error in the 1st inning and then 2 more runs in the 3rd on a fly ball double that carried to deep left-center field. Garfield scored a run in the 4th on a line drive double to right-center by Alex Chase. Eli Wilson got his first career Varsity hit and then scored the other Garfield run in the top of the 5th inning on a single by Duncan Skerrett, narrowing the score to 3-2. Issaquah responded with 4 runs in the bottom of the inning off starter Owen Vickrey and a couple Bulldogs defensive errors, effectively putting the game out of reach. Garfield was able to load the bases in the 7th, but ended up falling short. Skerrett went 3 for 4 with a RBI and run. Hayes Gorecki added 2 hits for Garfield.
Garfield may have lost 6 straight games but is still only 1 game back from the final division playoff spot. With just 3 league games remaining, the hunt should be interesting down to the finish line with Garfield closing out the conference schedule against Roosevelt and Newport, who are both in the mix for the final playoff berth. The Bulldogs (4-12 overall, 3-9 in league) match up with Ballard on Wednesday afternoon at Garfield.
Garfield JV lost 8-1. The JV Bulldogs are 3-12 overall, 1-10 in Kingco play. The Issaquah pitchers shut down the Bulldog bats all afternoon, allowing only 2 hits. Garfield’s next JV game is at Ballard on Wednesday.

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The Skyline Spartans handily defeated the Garfield Bulldogs on a sunny afternoon in Samammamish. The Spartans jumped out to a 2-run lead in the 1st inning off starter Justin Arkills-McLain, tacking on a run in the 4th and 2 more in the 6th off reliever Owen Vickrey to hang on for a 5-0 win. Skyline’s pitcher went the distance for the complete game shutout, throwing a 1-hitter. Chandler Honican hit a single in the 1st inning and that was it for Garfield’s offense. The Bulldogs failed to put the ball in play, striking out 14 times in total against the southpaw. Garfield’s catcher Ben Koerner threw out 2 baserunners stealing. Eli Wilson was a surprise start at shortstop, but was impressive defensively and offensively in his Varsity debut. The Bulldogs are now 4-11 overall, 3-8 in Kingco play. The next scheduled game is a must-win on Monday afternoon at Issaquah.
The JV Bulldogs lost at home in the rain to Skyline 16-2 in 5 innings. Toby Perkins of Garfield ripped a double over the left fielder’s head, but it wasn’t enough as Skyline capitalized with a couple big innings to put the game away. JV is now 3-11 overall, 1-9 in Kingco games. The Bulldogs were rained out on Friday against Bothell so their next game is Monday afternoon at home against Issaquah. A makeup date for the rainout has been set for Tuesday, April 30th.

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Hayes Gorecki got the start for the Garfield Bulldogs (3-7 Kingco, 4-10 overall) and pitched through 3 quick shutout innings before the Inglemoor Vikings bats caught up with him. The Vikings put up 8 runs in the 4th inning, helped by a few costly errors by the Bulldogs defense that would have gotten Gorecki out of the inning with minimal damage. Chandler Honican had the lone RBI for the Bulldogs in the 1st inning. Gorecki and his battery-mate Ben Koerner each had doubles over the center fielder’s head, while Aidan Nuttall got his 1st career Varsity hit for Garfield. The Bulldogs go on the road to play the division-leader, Skyline, on Wednesday afternoon.
The Garfield JV team scored 3 runs in the 7th inning to tie up the game 3-3, but lost on a walkoff sacrifice fly at Inglemoor. David Brinkley had a solid long relief performance for the Bulldogs. Patrick Lin was 3 for 4 with a run and stolen base. The JV team is 1-8 in Kingco, 3-10 overall. Their next games are Thursday at home against Skyline and a makeup game on Friday afternoon at home against Bothell.

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The Bothell Cougars decisively defeated the Garfield Bulldogs before a small weekend afternoon crowd in Bothell. The rain showers passed through and allowed the teams get their contest in before the hail, thunder, and lightning storm arrived. The Bulldogs drew first blood on a RBI single by Duncan Skerrett, scoring Derek Billey, who had doubled earlier in the inning. The Cougars quickly responded with a solo home run in bottom of 1st to even the score. Bothell then tallied 5 more runs in the 2nd inning off starter Owen Vickrey. Several more Garfield relief pitchers combined for a solid effort, but not before allowing 3 runs in the 4th inning to put the game out of reach. Defensive gems included Tavish Fenbert of the Bulldogs made a great diving catch on a foul pop-up at 1st base and Justin Arkills-McLain making a sliding catch on a line drive and then throwing to double up the runner who had left early from 2nd base. After the 9-1 loss, Garfield Varsity falls to 4-9 overall, 3-6 in league play with the next game coming up at home against Inglemoor on Monday afternoon.
Garfield JV was rained out against Bothell and will be made up on the afternoon of Friday, April 19th at Garfield. The next JV game is Monday afternoon at Inglemoor.

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The Eastlake Wolves and Garfield Bulldogs played a close game that got away from the Bulldogs in the last few innings due to some costly defensive miscues. The Garfield pitching was strong with Justin Arkills-McLain, Henry Freed, and Hayes Gorecki each looking good on the hill. The errors mixed in with 6 walks ended up leading to 5 unearned Eastlake runs, which was the difference in the ballgame. The Wolves hit the ball hard and put pressure on Garfield to make the play. Eastlake’s pitcher threw 6 good innings, allowing only 1 unearned run to Garfield.
Arkills-McLain led the Garfield offense with 2 of the team’s 3 hits, with the other coming from Hayes Gorecki to lead off the game. Alex Chase hit a deep fly ball that the left fielder chased down to make a catch over his shoulder, which could have blown the game open for the Bulldogs. Duncan Skerrett also hit a shot in the left-center gap with runners on base that the center fielder was able to snag to end the inning to snuff another potential big inning for Garfield.
The JV team lost 4-1 in a pitchers duel at Eastlake. No runs were scored until the 5th inning when Eastlake broke the tie. Garfield was able to put the tying run on base in the 7th inning, but fell short in its comeback.
The Bulldogs fall to 3-5 in conference, 4-8 overall. The JV team is now 1-7 in conference, 3-9 overall. Garfield JV will host Bothell on Friday afternoon, while the Varsity will travel to Bothell for an evening game on Friday.

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The Garfield Bulldogs (3-4 in Kingco play, 4-7 overall) and Woodinville Falcons played a quick 85-minute game under the dim lights at Woodinville with the Falcons scoring late in the 5th and 6th innings to seal the deal on a couple deep fly ball doubles over the outfielder’s heads that brought in the insurance runs. Garfield starting pitcher Owen Vickrey was perfect through 3 innings before giving up a leadoff single in the 4th. He threw his 2nd complete game of the year, pitching 6 innings while giving up 7 hits and 3 runs. Woodinville’s pitcher had a no-hitter until the 6th inning when Hayes Gorecki broke it up with a single to left field under the glove of the diving third baseman. The late scoring threat for the Bulldogs ended in the 6th when Chandler Honican lined into a double play as the second baseman caught the shot and tagged the base to double up the runner. The Bulldogs offense only mustered 1 hit, 2 hit batters, and 3 walks on the evening.
The JV Bulldogs lost at home to Woodinville 7-3. Toby Perkins started for the Bulldogs and was relieved by Atticus Pennylegion-Hurley and David Brinkley. The Garfield offense came to life in the 3rd inning with a rally to put up 3 runs and even up the score. Patrick Lin went 1 for 2 with a stolen base and a run. Garfield JV’s record is 1-6 in Kingco, 3-8 overall.
The Varsity team hosts Eastlake on Wednesday afternoon while the JV travels to the Sammamish Plateau to play Eastlake.

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