Monte baseball gets first wins

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Brendan Carl | The Vidette Montesano senior Evan Bialkowsky stretches to take a throw at first base to get a Rainier runner out on April 9. The Bulldogs won both games of the doubleheader against Rainier.

The Montesano High School baseball team got its first win of the season on April 9. The Bulldogs followed up their first win of the season with a second win in the same day. Monte beat Rainier, 5-3, in the first game of a doubleheader on April 9 and then shut out the Mountainieers, 4-0, in the second game, allowing only one hit.

“Our pitchers put together a one-hit shutout and you have to be happy with that,” coach Mike Bruner said. “The big thing is our pitchers have to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters and they did that in that second game.”

Freshman Austin Peterson, senior Kody Usher and sophomore Jake Herzog combined for the one-hitter. Montesano (2-5, 2-4) tried to spread out the time on the mound to keep as many pitchers as possible available for the doubleheader the following day and all three delivered one of their best performances of the season so far. The Bulldogs stiffled Rainier throughout with the only hit coming on a bunt.

“The biggest takeaway is we did put two Ws on the board,” Bruner said. “There were positives in our pitching being able to throw that many guys and have them come in and do a job and know that we had a tough road a hoe with two doubleheaders in two days. Our guys didn’t let that act as an excuse to not play well the second day.”

Montesano’s second doubleheader of the week came against Rochester on April 10 and included a one-hitter as well, but this time the Bulldogs were the ones shut down. Rochester’s Dustin Wilson held Monte scoreless in a 6-0 loss in the first game. In the second half of the doubleheader, the Bulldogs fought to a 5-5 tie in the fifth inning before giving up the winning run in the sixth to lose, 6-5.

With only a few players returning from last season’s varsity team, the Bulldogs are young and still learning from mistakes. In the second game against Rainier, Monte had multiple errors in more than one inning. Bruner said Monte needs to shore up the defense and work on discipline at the plate, making sure to look for pitches to hit hard early in the count instead of just swinging for contact. Overall, Bruner said the Bulldogs are still a work in progress.

“There are a lot of things we need to work on,” Bruner said. “We are making some progress in some areas. With a young and fairly inexperienced group of players, you really try to focus on process rather than result. As you are working through your process you are going to make improvements and then the results are going to come. Our guys need to focus on our process and commit to it and work hard every day to get better.”