After losing its first game at Bellevue on Saturday, the Edmonds Community College baseball team needed to beat the Bulldogs in three straight in order to win the NWAACC North Region regular season championship.
That’s just what happened.
Following a 4-1 victory in Saturday’s nightcap at Courter Field, NWAACC No. 2-ranked Edmonds swept the third-ranked Bulldogs at Triton Field Sunday 6-5 and 11-4. The sweep not only hands Edmonds (31-7, 19-5 North) the region crown for the first time since 2010, it assures the team a spot in the eight-team NWAACC Championship Tournament in Longview starting on May 22.
Edmonds will also host the three-day, four-team NWAACC North Tournament starting on Friday, May 16. Edmonds is the No. 1 seed in the tournament, followed by Bellevue (23-19, 18-6), Douglas (16-15, 15-9) and either Skagit Valley Everett (19-20, 12-12). The two to four seeds will battle for the region’s second berth to the NWAACC Championships.
Sunday’s opener didn’t seem that way early, but was a nail-biter down to the last pitch. Edmonds put up three runs in the bottom of the first inning highlighted by a two-run single from Connor Plaisance.
The Bulldogs came back with two runs off of Triton starter Austin Lee in the third before Edmonds responded with three more in the fourth. Ryan Budnick (Edmonds-Woodway) delivered a two-run single in that frame.
Bellevue would not go down quietly, however, pushing across two runs in the sixth to close the gap to just two. Then, with two outs in the seventh, the Bulldogs loaded the bases and got to within a run when the third Triton pitcher of the frame, Torin Dooley (Meadowdale), hit a batter. Dooley induced a fly out to the next hitter, though, to preserve the win and set up a winner-take-all game two.
Lee improved to 7-0 on the season, the freshman toeing the rubber for 5.2 innings. Dooley earned his first save of the 2014 campaign.
Budnick drove in three runs and went 2-for-4. Also collecting two hits was Matt Becker, Kyle Olson and TC Florentine.
Game two was not as close. Edmonds scored twice in the first and four times in the third to go up 6-0. Bellevue managed to push across two runs in the fourth but the Tritons got on an offensive roll, plating two more runs in the fifth and three more in the seventh and cruised to the 11-4 triumph.
Budnick kept up the pace, going 3-for-3 with a double, a homerun and five RBI. Florentine had three hits and scored four times.
Colin Samuelson started but did not get the win. DJ Oliver picked up the victory in relief, lasting 4 1/3 frames and allowing just one run on two hits. Dooley closed out the game by getting the last three outs in the ninth.
The 31 wins are the most for Edmonds since the team’s last NWAACC title in 2008.