Bulldog Baseball Ends Heroic Run With Third Place Finish at NWAACC Championships
Bellevue College baseball showed signs of another magic run towards a second consecutive NWAACC title, but fell short with a third place finish at the NWAACC Championships over Memorial Day weekend in Longview. With NWAACC titles in 2007 and 2009, the team was two games away from a third title in four years. The Bulldogs proved to be one of the most competitive teams at the tourney, with wins over eventual champion Lower Columbia, second-ranked Columbia Basin, and league-rival Edmonds. Needing three wins on championship Monday, the Bulldogs beat previously unbeaten Lower Columbia 4-0, leaving three remaining teams (Bellevue, Lane, and Lower Columbia) with one loss apiece. Lane Community College ended the Bulldogs’ chances with an 8-6 win.
On the opening day of the tourney, in perhaps the best game of the day, Bellevue squared off with Columbia Basin in a re-match of last year’s title game. Bellevue’s Seafth Howe outdueled Columbia Basin ace Elliott Van Gaver 1-0. Van Gaver, who Bellevue beat a year ago on championship Monday, was brilliant, striking out 9 but yielded the lone run of the game when Tyler Cox drove in Ian McKay in the bottom of the 7th . Howe was even better, striking out 12 and walking only one.
After a washout of day two (Friday May 28), Bellevue faced #1 ranked Lower Columbia in a quarterfinal game. The Bulldogs fared well against Lower Columbia’s highly-touted pro prospect Jeff Ames, who is expected to be taken in this month’s major league draft. Cox and Kyle Johnson drilled home runs as the game was tied 3-3 going into the 9th inning before Lower Columbia delivered the key hit; a two-out double to defeat Bellevue 6-3. Bulldog pitcher Kyle Swannack was even more impressive than his opponent, striking out 10 while walking only one in a complete game effort.
With one loss, Bellevue faced league-rival Edmonds in a loser-out affair, sending their North Region rivals home with a 5-3 victory. The Bulldogs jumped out 3-0 on a home run from Emmett Niland. Cody Edwards hit Bellevue’s second home run of the game and fourth overall in the tourney, for the game-winning RBI in the fourth inning.
Following the dramatic win over Edmonds, Bellevue advanced to championship Monday. Due to the rain delays over the weekend, the team would have to win three games in one day to re-claim the title. Bellevue was forced to play Lower Columbia again, this time coming out ahead 4-0 behind the stellar pitching performance by Jake Collier. It was the second dominating pitching performance by a Bellevue pitcher against the eventual champion Lower Columbia squad. Collier threw a complete game shutout after a two-week layoff. The hitting combination of McKay and Cox again delivered, as they did in the opener against Columbia Basin, as Cox drove in McKay with an RBI single after McKay led off the inning with a base hit and stolen base.
The win over Lower Columbia left three teams remaining with one loss apiece. Bellevue’s next foe was Lane Community College. The ‘dogs jumped out 3-0 but could not hold onto the lead as Lane battled back to win over Bellevue 8-6. “A 30-win season (Bellevue ended the season 32-20) is outstanding. The team has many things to be proud of; finishing strong winning the North Region Tourney with a 3-0 run for the second year in a row, going head-to-head and splitting with eventual champion Lower Columbia on their home field in front of capacity crowds, and proving their mental toughness by beating league-rival Edmonds both in the region playoffs and eliminating them from the NWAACC tourney. For the few returning sophomores we had, getting a championship ring in ’09 and making it to championship Monday finishing third in 2010 is quite an accomplishment. This year’s playoff run was also a good experience for our relatively young team” says Coach Mark Yoshino. The Bulldogs will return several starters from this year’s club and have already marked their calendars for 2011. Their season opener will be a return trip from where they just came from; Lower Columbia College where the NWAACC Champions of the last two years will square off against each other.
|Member of the Northwest Athletics Association of Community Colleges|
Home | Prospective Athletes | Facilities | Administration | Staff Directory