The Issaquah Eagles baseball team wasn’t only down to their last out, they were down to their last strike against the Mount Si Wildcats in a winner-to-state, loser-out KingCo playoff contest.
Mount Si had a 6-5 lead against Issaquah going into the seventh inning. Mount Si closer Gavin Gorrell, who was inserted into the game in the top of the seventh, got Issaquah’s first two hitters of the inning to ground out. Gorrell walked Corey Chaplin and then on a full-count drilled Issaquah’s Kyle Rodriguez on the lower left leg, putting runners on first and second. The next batter Gorrell faced was Issaquah’s Drew Feldman. After throwing two consecutive strikes, Gorrell was a mere one strike away from registering the final out that would catapult the Wildcats to the Class 4A state tournament while simultaneously ending Issaquah’s season.
Feldman simply didn’t let his team lose.
On the next pitch, Feldman drilled a long fly ball deep to right field. The hard hit ball was just over the head of Mount Si’s right fielder scoring Issaquah’s two runners on base, giving Issaquah a 7-6 lead. The entire Issaquah dugout erupted in pure jubilation as both runners on base crossed the plate.
In the bottom of the seventh Issaquah relief pitcher Torin Crockett, who pitched the final three innings of the game, surrendered one hit before enticing Mount Si hitter Owen Roche into a grounder which resulted in a game-ending double play, preserving Issaquah’s 7-6 victory against Mount Si in a thriller between KingCo 4A rivals on May 12 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. The Eagles will compete in the first round of the Class 4A state baseball tournament at 10 a.m. on May 20 at Heritage Park in Puyallup. Feldman said he was just looking to put the ball in play on what ended up being the most crucial at-bat of the season for the Eagles.
“I think he [Gorrell] missed it and it just came right down the pipe [down the middle] and I just hit it,” Feldman said.
Feldman said he was focused on Mount Si’s right fielder as the ball traveled in the air.
“I was a little skeptical but then I just saw him keep running back and running back. It dropped behind him,” he said. “We’re just excited to be moving on to the state tournament.”
Issaquah head coach Rob Reese couldn’t be more proud of his team’s ability to rise to the occasion when the pressure is on.
“We were down to our last strike and Feldman has been clutch for us all year. He just got a pitch to hit. It was an unbelievable clutch effort. I knew it was over his [Mount Si right-fielder] head when he hit it. The ball jumps off his bat and were hoping it had enough. It did,” Reese said.
The atmosphere at Bannerwood Park for the showdown between KingCo 4A rivals was electric. Open seats were few and far between and many fans stood for the duration of the contest.
“They [Mount Si] are a great team and they have the best pitcher [Gorrell] in the league who was out there pitching the last inning against us. It was an amazing way to end it,” Reese said.