Issaquah Eagles junior pitcher Brady Liddle wanted the ball in his hands on the hill with his team’s season on the line.
Liddle responded to the challenge with perhaps the most signature performance of his high school career to date.
Liddle surrendered a meager five hits and zero runs in 6 1/3 innings of work, propelling the Eagles to a 6-0 victory against Kamiak in a loser-out, Wes-King 4A district playoff game on May 2 at Issaquah High School. Issaquah improved its overall record to 14-7 with the triumph. Liddle credited his teammates following the win.
“I had a great defense behind me. Tyler Odegard (catcher) called a great game. I was just trying to throw strikes and let my defense do the work,” Liddle said.
The game was scoreless throughout the first four innings of play. Issaquah got on the board when Cooper Thieme connected on a RBI double to left field in the bottom of the fifth inning, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead. The Eagles extended their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth after Odegard’s 2 RBI single to left field. Odegard’s ground ball deflected off of Kamiak’s shortstop’s glove before rolling into the outfield. In the bottom of the sixth, Thieme connected on a moon-shot three-run home-run to right field, extending Issaquah’s lead to 6-0.
“That ball was crushed. He really hit that ball. We needed that to break it open. It took us from a three- run lead to a six-run lead. That is a huge difference,” Issaquah head coach Rob Reese said of Thieme’s blast to right field.
Thieme knew the ball was long gone as soon as it jumped off his bat.
“Once you do it a few times, you kind of know what it feels like when you get a full connection with it. It feels pretty amazing,” Thieme said of his gargantuan sized home-run.
While the Eagles bats were hot in the fifth and sixth inning, the night belonged to Liddle on the rubber.
“Brady shoved (dominated) today. He performed at his best today. He had some rough starts before but today it all came together,” Thieme said.
Reese echoed Thieme’s sentiment.
“Brady was awesome. We were in a pitchers duel for five innings there. We knew that could happen come playoff time, especially in a loser-out game. Brady kept them at zero (runs) which took the pressure off. He was awesome,” Reese said with pride.
The Eagles will face Cascade at 10 a.m. on May 4 at Everett Memorial Stadium in the second round of the Wes-King 4A playoffs.
“We just got to take it one game at a time. Our goal is to win the state championship,” Liddle said.