Friday’s State 2A Baseball: Guerrero Pitches Bearcats to State Finals
ACE: After Rough Start, Tyson Guerrero’s Arm, Adrian Boites’ Homer Give W.F. West a 7-2 Win Over Anacortes
By Aaron VanTuyl
YAKIMA — The Bearcat on the mound for the first two innings wasn’t exactly Tyson Guerrero.
The kid on the mound for the last five, though, was — as teammate Adrian Boites said afterwards — exactly what the fans came here to see.
“When he’s on, no one can really touch him,” Boites, the Bearcats’ third-baseman and a relief pitcher, said. “I seriously love watching him pitch. He just puts on a show.”
The effort was even more commendable given the setting: the State 2A semifinals against Anacortes at County Stadium, with a spot in Saturday’s state championship game on the line.
And after a rough start — he hit the first batter then loaded the bases with walks to give up a run in the first, hit another in the second, and walked a runner that came around to score in the third — he was lights-out.
Guerrero worked 6 2/3 innings in the Bearcats’ 7-2 win, striking out 12 and allowing three hits. After the run in the third, though, he retired 13 of the last 15 batters he faced, with the two runners reaching on singles that got through the infield.
“That was a pretty good game,” Guerrero admitted afterwards. “The best game I’ve had.”
Coach Bryan Bullock was a bit more emphatic.
“He wasn’t missing by much, and then he started to get his breaking pitch over. And as soon as he got his breaking pitch over, then he was able to take them out of their rhythm,” he said. “I can’t even picture a ball after the first inning that was hit hard. I thought he just completed dominated them.”
The big change came in the fourth. Trailing 2-0, Dakota Hawkins led off the inning with a double and scored on a single from Tyler Pallas — the second and third hits allowed by Seahawk starter Caden Cornett.
Tysen Paul singled and Austin Emery was intentionally walked to load the bases, and two batters later Cornett hit Boites to bring in a run. Guerrero then drew a walk to put W.F. West up 3-2 and give himself a bit of breathing room on the bump.
The crowd and dugout both started to wake up.
“People were just getting loud,” Guerrero said, “getting me more and more excited, and making me throw harder.”
He proceeded to strike out the side in both the fifth and the sixth. The one-run lead was slim but safe, until Boites intervened.
The Bearcats’ No. 9 hitter drilled the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the sixth high over the left-field fence for his second homer of the year at the most opportune of times.
“I just did what Bullock told me to do — time it up early,” he said. “I was just expecting a fastball, and I swung and it kind of shifted the momentum back to us.”
Guerrero followed it up with a single and scored on a hit from Hawkins, but the Seahawks’ energy for a comeback was all but sapped.
“I didn’t even see it,” Guerrero said of Boites’ shot. “I lost it in the sky. I just heard everyone screaming.”
Guerrero went back out for the seventh and got two outs, while allowing a hit, before Bullock came out of the dugout. The junior left-hander was at 102 pitches, three away from the state’s hard limit, and righthander Brandon White was coming in to finish things off.
“I wasn’t going to tell him that he had anything left, because he probably would have stayed,” Bullock joked. “I didn’t mention that he had anything left. But, you know, the coach comes out in me that I didn’t want Brandon to start a hitter out with a count.”
White, coincidentally, needed just three pitches to get the final out, putting the Bearcat staff’s total at exactly 105.
“That’s one of those things we’re going to look back on,” Bullock said with a chuckle, “there’s no doubt about it.”
Paul, Pallas and Hawkins each had two hits, and Boites and Guerrero each finished 1 for 2 at the plate.
The win puts W.F. West in the state finals for the first time since the Bearcats beat Tumwater for the championship back in 2013, a year before this year’s seniors entered high school. They’ll face Ellensburg (22-3) in the finals, a team that’s beaten the Bearcats three times in tight games over the last two years.
“I’ve always wanted to win the state tournament, and here’s our chance to do it,” Guerrero said. “They’re a pretty good team. I’m excited to actually beat them.”
BEARCATS 7, SEAHAWKS 2
Anacortes 101 000 0 — 2 3 1
W.F. West 000 304 X — 7 9 1
Batteries: Anacortes — Caden Cornett, Ty Saunders (6), Kaden Stevenson (6) and Anthony Notaro; W.F. West — Tyson Guerrero, Brandon White (7) and Tysen Paul