Every once in a great while a special crew comes along at Enumclaw High that, through a noteworthy combination of talent and chemistry, is able to battle through whatever adversity stands in its path and battle its way deep into the playoffs.
It has been 30 long seasons since an Enumclaw baseball squad has reached this juncture in a campaign, but the 2010 version of the EHS Hornet baseball squad proved it is Final Four worthy Saturday at Mount Vernon’s Dream Field.
In pushing its overall record to 20-5 by bludgeoning West Seattle 13-8 and then edging Mount Rainier in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state baseball tournament, EHS advanced to the next level, dazzling the Hornet faithful on hand at Skagit Valley Community College’s campus.
Enumclaw will be among the final four 3A contingents to play in the WIAA 3A state championships at Safeco Field in Seattle this weekend.
The pressure-cooker will begin to bubble when the Hornets mix it up with the reigning 3A state champion O’Dea High School at 10 a.m. Friday, which will allow a size-able group of EHS students to attend since this Friday is snow day and they will not be required to attend classes that day. Should the Hornets pull off a conquest over the Irish, EHS will then escalate itself to the championship rendezvous at 4 p.m. Saturday against the winner of Friday’s Camas vs. Columbia River tilt for all the marbles.
Enumclaw earned the right to face Mount Rainier in the quarterfinals when it beat West Seattle’s Wildcats by five runs in a 32-hit slugfest played on a gorgeous afternoon in the northern reaches of the state.
Enumclaw junior standout Marcus Madden, who went 6-for-8 from the plate in Saturday’s critical tandem of contests, crushed a grand slam in the bottom of the second inning to put the maroon and gold in front 7-6.
Then, South Puget Sound League 3A MVP Michael Lucarelli tacked on a pair of insurance tallies with a two-run round tripper in the third frame.
“West Seattle’s number five hitter was like 6-feet, 5-inches and looked like he could play in the majors tomorrow,” said EHS skipper Eric Fiedler, who was recently named SPSL 3A coach of the year.
“The Wildcats had without a doubt one of the best hitting teams we’ve faced all year, but we managed to, ahhh, hold them to eight runs with some great mound work by D.J. Hitch, who pitched the game’s last five innings,” Fiedler said.
Once again it was high drama against the Rams of Mount Rainier in Enumclaw’s quarterfinal triumph that enabled the Hornets to punch their ticket to Safeco Field.
In the wild rematch that was low-lighted by each team committing a half dozen errors, undaunted junior EHS mound artist Levi Goodin put forth what Fiedler called a “gutsy, nerves of steel, five-inning performance,” before being relieved by the equally calm and cool curve-baller, Lucarelli, who in addition to being the Hornets’ starting shortstop, has also put out his share of fires from the hill.
Senior second baseman Kailen Bickler was not among those booting the ball around the diamond and he also went 3-for-4 in the Mount Rainier encounter with a double and two runs scored, while Lucarelli rode the storm out in the last two innings to register the crucial save.
With the score knotted at six in the bottom of the seventh stanza, junior speed demon Trenton Disque smacked a clutch single and advance to second on a wild pitch by the unnerved Ram hurler.
Sophomore Tyler Carlson moved Disque to third with a base knock and Hitch laid down a perfect suicide squeeze to score the game-winning run, as Disque crossed the plate.
“Trenton timed his break to home perfectly, D.J. tapped a beautiful squeeze bunt and pandemonium ensued,” Fiedler said.
“These kids deserve the success they have enjoyed. They are a great group of young men that work hard and have a fantastic rapport with one another.”
The coach looks forward to the state semifinals with cool confidence.
“No disrespect intended toward the two fine teams we played on Saturday, but I feel like we are peaking at just the right time and are in such a tremendous groove right now that nothing even seems to rattle these guys,” Fiedler said.