Springtime marks the annual arrival of high school baseball on the Peninsula, and athletes from Quilcene High School and East Jefferson Rivals baseball programs met at Chimacum High for the season …
Springtime marks the annual arrival of high school baseball on the Peninsula, and athletes from Quilcene High School and East Jefferson Rivals baseball programs met at Chimacum High for the season opener, with the Rivals defeating the Rangers 11-4.
It was a breezy and somewhat soggy slog.
As players lined the dugouts and prepared for the opening pitch, heavy winds gusted through from left field. The wind, along with sporadic waves of light rain and a cool temperature in the low 40s made for a less-than-ideal setting, but the athletes trotted out regardless.
Quilcene started off at bat in the first inning, but couldn’t convert any base hits to scoring runs.
The Rivals were first to score in the beginning inning, with a volley of base hits for the 1-0 edge.
The next two innings were somewhat uneventful as both teams managed to get players on bases, but failed to change the scoreboard.
EJ still maintained its lead going into the top of the fourth inning, but Quilcene started to gain momentum.
The Rangers cracked a few line drives, stole bases, and started their rally.
It was 1-1, then 2-1 Rangers. Quilcene kept platting runs to move ahead as the fifth inning arrived.
Both teams’ defenses held steady in the fifth inning, with great catches and throws on both sides.
After Quilcene fell short of scoring any runs at the top of the sixth inning, the Rivals were at bat with a sense of urgency.
EJ’s dugout was getting loud, fueling the offense to turn the game around.
That they did. Behind the energy of the dugout and surrounding crowd, the Rivals were getting base hit after base hit to slowly gain on the visiting Rangers.
With the score knotted at 4-4, the energy on the field reached its peak after one of the EJ players nailed a line drive into left field. Two runners dashed to home plate and made the score 6-4 Rivals.
The Rivals didn’t let off the gas pedal as they continued to score runs until the officials called the game at 11-4 EJ due to the huge lead and worsening weather.
Rivals baseball Head Coach Ben Lozano was thrilled with the team effort and win, and praised his athletes for their grit.
“For the first game, I was really happy with the way we played defensively. Our pitching really looked good and we swung our bats today,” he said.
“We just kept grinding,” Lozano added. “We just kept battling through the game. We were swinging to hit really well.”
Lozano acknowledged the impact of the heavy winds, cool temperature, and light rain.
“The weather was a huge impact, so it was tough to get out there and stay out there and play ball in this kind of weather. We made it happen,” he said.
Looking forward, Lozano was happy to earn a win in the season opener as the Rivals look to their next matchup against Klahowya Secondary School Wednesday, March 16 in Silverdale.
“Very happy with that; we wanted to get a lot of guys in, really trying to get to work, and get ready for our conference games that are coming up. Those are going to be the big games for us,” Lozano said.
“It was nice to get a lot of players in and I was happy with what I saw. They’ve been working really hard,” the coach said.
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