The Thunder Mountain High School baseball team cruised past the Craig Panthers at the Region V tournament on Friday 13-0. The elimination game was shortened by the mercy rule after the fifth inning.
“It was close early,” TMHS coach Matt Greely said. “Then we kind of pulled away in the middle innings.”
The Falcons will now play Ketchikan at 10 a.m. Saturday in another elimination game.
Ketchikan rebounded from their 10-9 nine-inning loss to #1 seed Sitka on Thursday by eliminating Petersburg 11-7 on Friday.
The winner of Saturday’s morning game will play the loser of JDHS and Sitka. The JDHS/Sitka winner is the tourney champion and gets the top southeast seed for the state championships. The loser plays the Falcons/Kayhi winner for the second seed to state.
For the Falcons, Gus Swanton stepped on the mound for his first outing of the tournament and threw 50 pitches in the first three scoreless innings. Swanton will have seven innings of work still available per the league rule of 10 innings in three days.
The tournament format allows teams to test the depth of their pitching staff and the Falcons have.
Chris Luck threw one inning and will have nine innings available Saturday.
“He has been throwing the ball well for us this year,” Greely said. “He is coming along nicely.”
Martin Conchas-Michel threw the final inning. It was his second mound appearance of the season on the varsity mound.
The Falcons exploded for 10 runs in the top of the fourth.
“Just a lot of guys contributed up and down the line up,” Greely said. “They had patient at bats and didn’t go outside their swings, just stayed within themselves and trusted the guy behind them to get the job done.”
Tim Christensen and Cam Thomas had two RBIs in the inning.
“Right now each game is our championship game,” Greely said. “Tomorrow is Ketchikan. We have to win that game. We are not thinking about any other games but the one in front of us. That is the approach we have taken with each game. Every game is the one you have to win.”
The Falcons have had mixed results against Kayhi this season, losing 11-6 in a rain shortened affair at Ketchikan, beating the Kings 16-4 and 18-8 at Sitka, and losing 7-0 in Juneau.
“Both teams have showed different faces each time we have played,” Greely said. ‘We are not sure which team will show up tomorrow for both sides. But we can’t worry about anyone but ourselves, we feel like we are playing pretty good baseball right now. The tournament has been pretty fair for us, with only playing one game a day and a maximum of two tomorrow. The weather has been great over here and the people have been very hospitable. So far it has been a great experience for our guys.”