Sports

Spartans tame Panthers 7-6 at home in varsity baseball

BHS senior and Spartan first baseman Tino Peleti tags out a Seattle Preparatory runner during Wednesday’s home game. - Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review
BHS senior and Spartan first baseman Tino Peleti tags out a Seattle Preparatory runner during Wednesday’s home game.
— image credit: Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review

It was a roller-coaster ride of a game as the Bainbridge Spartans proceeded to lead early, trail and then ultimately beat the Seattle Preparatory Panthers 7-6 late in the final inning Wednesday, April 30.

The win at home brought the conference record of the BHS varsity baseball team to 10-2, securing for them the second-ranked spot in the Metro Mountain Division behind O’Dea.

Despite the team’s victory, Spartan Head Coach David Smart said he was primarily unimpressed with the team’s performance Wednesday, saying that it was perhaps a continuance of the boys’ previous lackadaisical performance against O’Dea which had resulted in a loss.

“It was a little too exciting,” Smart said of the late-game comeback against Seattle Prep.

“We got a win, but we can play a lot better than that,” he said. “That’s what I told the guys right there, I expect more out of them. I expect them to play better and I expect us to be more focused. I don’t know what the deal was, but we weren’t very focused and we were fortunate to get a win.”

Offensively, the Spartans had a busy day.

Duncan McCombs was the most active Spartan at the plate. In his four at bats he totaled three hits, including one triple and four RBIs.

Sam Tiffany stepped up to three at bats, throughout which he managed two hits and batted in one run.

The speediest Spartan on the field was Dylan Vchulek, who sprinted his way to two stolen bases. He finished the game with two at bats, and one hit which resulted in a double and one run.

Tino Peleti also left his mark on the scoreboard and ended the day with two at bats, two hits of which one was a double, one RBI and two runs.

Overall, Smart said that the team was playing very well and with the exception of the last two performances he was quite excited about the Spartans’ late season possibilities.

“The whole year I’ve been using the term ‘cautiously optimistic,’” he explained. “I think we’ve got a world of talent. I think we’ve got good pitching, we’ve got guys that are really swinging the bats well. Everybody is capable of doing really good things, and if we can mentally put it together I think we’re a very good team.”

Emphasizing the team’s need to settle down and focus, Smart said that in the big scheme of things he cared less about winning the next two games than he did about improving the team’s overall performance going into the last leg of the season.

“I always want to win,” he laughed. “But I’m much more concerned about our lack of focus today and where we are mentally. We’ve got really high expectations for [the players]. If we play and come out like we should, we’re going to be competitive in our next two games, but we need to not so much focus on the results as on the approach and the path that gets us there. That’s really what I mean by that.”

Having recently secured a spot in the district playoffs, Smart said the most important thing for him to do now as the team’s coach is not to do anything different.

“I don’t want to let up,” he said. “I think we have to continue to build toward a peak. Last year we peaked at the right time. Last year we got on a good roll. We can’t afford to have a dip. I felt like we had a dip on Friday [against O’Dea], and it might have carried over to today. We got to shake if off and get back on track to where what we expect is what actually happens.”

The Spartans would have their first chance to refocus and try to play to Smart’s expectations Friday, May 2 on the road against Seattle Preparatory.

The baseball action then returns to Bainbridge for the final home game of the season at 4 p.m. Monday, May 5 as the Spartans face off against Chief Sealth.

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