Hardballers earn Metro League crown

Matt Frazee’s three-run blast sealed the 7-5 win over Eastside Catholic.

SEATTLE – Sitting in the dugout after the game, Matt Frazee could still recall the at-bat pitch by pitch.

That’s because it led to one of the biggest hits of his prep career.

“I remember, strike one I fouled it (fastball) off, then it was a fastball low and out (and another) fastball low and out, (both of which) were balls,” he said. “Then he came with a changeup up and in. It was a watermelon.”

Frazee parked that “watermelon” pitch over the right field fence for a three-run homer as the Bainbridge Spartans defeated the Eastside Catholic Crusaders 7-5, winning their first ever Metro League Championship on a rain drenched Saturday at Lower Woodland.

Even with the big hit, it was the little things that helped the Spartans to the title.

“You gotta coach to beat these guys,” head coach Jayson Gore said. “We had the bunts, we were moving guys over, we were hitting and running, we had the squeeze working. We were doing it all.”

It was an even contest for the first few innings.

Bainbridge got to Eastside Catholic starter Pat Lloid in the first when Zach Peach hit the first pitch of the game over rightfielder Nick Latanrio’s head for a double. He would eventually score on a single by Frazee.

The Crusaders countered in their half inning when C.J. Hall gave up walks to Cole Akins and Latanrio, then Seth Salinas hit a ground ball that went under third baseman Brenden Gent’s glove, scoring Akins.

Bainbridge got the run back in the second when J.K. Spencer – pinch running for Josh Truan – scored on a fielder’s choice by David Lantz. But Eastside Catholic tied it up again in the second when Garrett Miller reached on an error, then scored on a double.

The Crusaders went ahead in the third when Lloid doubled in Billy Marcoe, but the Spartans retook the lead for good in the fourth.

Blake Jensen singled, then Truan bunted to move him over.

Michael Heald hit an infield single, then Peach hit a hard liner to Salinas, who couldn’t make the catch and let Peach beat the throw.

Gore put on the squeeze and Lantz executed to perfection with a bunt down the first base line, scoring Jensen.

Robbie Stevenson reached base on an error by Akins, then Frazee hit his fifth homer of the year, which sent the Spartan fans into a frenzy.

“Peach told me he saw the ball coming out of his (Lloid’s) hand and he saw it was a changeup,” Frazee said. “He knew from a mile away that was gone.”

Eastside Catholic wouldn’t quit, scoring two in the fifth. In the sixth, Hall gave up a leadoff double to Pat Terry, which led to Frazee coming in for only his second relief appearance all year.

After getting Akins to ground out, he walked Latanrio and Marcoe to load the bases.

He came back to strike out Lloid on three straight pitches, then got Salinas to fly out to Heald. That was it for Eastside Catholic, as Frazee pitched a 1-2-3 seventh for his first save of the year.

The Spartans will play this Saturday at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue against either Mark Morris or Kelso.

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