Crusaders baseball team clinches berth in Class 3A state semifinals

Eastside Catholic registers clutch victories against Arlington, Bonney Lake to reach semifinals.

The Eastside Catholic Crusaders baseball squad simply took care of business on their trip to Mount Vernon.

The Crusaders, who were eliminated from the Class 3A state tournament in the first round in 2016 and 2017, put their past woes behind them courtesy of a 6-5 win against Arlington in the first round and a convincing 12-1 victory against the Bonney Lake Panthers in the Class 3A state quarterfinals on May 18 in Mount Vernon. The Crusaders will face Southridge in the Class 3A state semifinals at 7 p.m. on May 25 at Gesa Stadium in Pasco. Crusaders’ head coach Kyle Larsen was jovial after watching his team put together two breakthrough performances in one day to reach the state semifinals.

“It was definitely great getting that monkey off of our back. Getting that first win against Arlington was huge. It was a tight game and the guys fought so hard to win it. That win really propelled us into that second game (12-1 win against Bonney Lake). We were just on fire that second game,” Larsen said.

The Crusaders dominated in all facets against Bonney Lake, defeating them in just five innings of play due to the 10-run rule.

“Bonney Lake is a really good team. To see our guys come out and jump on them early and keep that going was fun to watch. Fortunately things went our way,” Larsen said. “The road trip to Mount Vernon was definitely a business trip. We went their to win and we did it. The guys were dialed in and ready to go.”

Crusaders pitcher Jacob Dahlstrom surrendered just three hits and one run in five innings of work against Bonney Lake. Larsen said Dalhstrom threw just 53 pitches in the win. Kenji Suzuki connected on a three-run home-run and Bryson Beltran had a two-run home-run against the Panthers in the Class 3A state quarterfinals. Larsen is excited about the opportunity awaiting his squad at Gesa Stadium in Pasco this weekend.

“We are peaking at the right time. The bats have come alive. We’re playing a really experienced Southridge team that is consistently a final four (state semifinals) team. To see our guys battle the way they did on Saturday, if we keep that attitude and keep things rolling the way that we have the last couple of weeks I think we have a good shot at it,” Larsen said of the upcoming matchup against Southridge.