High-school playoffs | Five things to watch in baseball
1 Woodinville’s hot streak. Nothing more than ordinary is a nice way to put the Falcons’ 7-6 start to the season, but the bats started to come around and the wins followed.
“Things just finally clicked for us,” coach Alan Dillman told The Seattle Times after beating Cascade 8-3 to move on to the semifinals. “Our bats just took off, and we continued to play good defense.”
Woodinville scored a combined 20 runs in its last two playoff games and will need to continue to push runners across the plate if it wants to top nationally-ranked Puyallup in the semifinals. Hitting is what the Falcons are good at, though, as they pounded out 24 and 15 hits in their last two contests, respectively.
2 An O’Dea dynasty. The Irish won a title in 2005 and then back-to-back championships in 2009-2010. The current roster of seniors have never won state, but managed to lead O’Dea to its first Metro League tournament title in more than a decade. If O’Dea comes out on top this weekend, who could you argue has had a better run the past 10 years?
3 Can Mount Spokane capitalize on Cantu? The Wildcats are in the state semifinals for the first time in school history, thanks to Connor Cantu’s two-out, walkoff grand slam against Kennewick in the quarterfinals. When all the excitement settles from the dramatic win, Mount Spokane will have to face a veteran O’Dea squad.
4 Lyon’s roar. If Lake Washington wants to make the most out of its first trip to the semifinals since 2004, the Kangs will need senior John Lyon to step up. Lyon is 5-1 with a 0.90 ERA and has hit .424 with four doubles and 18 RBI.
5 Shorewood’s pitching decision. The big decision coaches have at this point in the season is whether to throw an ace in the semifinals or hold him in hopes of reaching the finals. Shorewood has two top-of-the-line hurlers, but Sam Boone (9-1, 0.32 ERA) is clearly the ace of the staff. The Thunderbirds used Boone in the first of two loser-out games last week before Ian Oxnevad won the quarterfinal matchup, and a similar scenario could play out in Pasco.