After losing to West Valley 11-10 in the May 12, Great Northern League championship game, the Cheney High baseball team traveled to Ellensburg last Saturday to play the Bulldogs in a 2A regional game. This was a scenario Cheney was in last year that resulted in a 7-0 loss to the Bulldogs and the end of Cheney’s 2014 season. However, history did not repeat itself as the Blackhawks defeated the Bulldogs 6-5. They advance to the first round of the state tournament in Yakima.
In the Ellensburg game, the Blackhawks took an early lead in the first inning after Cade VanWormer hit a single to bring in Dominic Bonilla, followed by Chance Gleave’s two-RBI single. In the bottom of the first, Alonso Biblano hit a two-run home run to put Ellensburg on the scoreboard, followed by a RBI-double from Gabe Gibson to tie the game, 3-3.
After being down 4-3 in the top of the third, Kyle Jones hit a single to bring in Harrison King for the tying run. Connor Pratt led off the sixth inning with a triple, followed by Riley Jones’ two-run ground rule double to left field to bring in Pratt and VanWormer, who the Bulldogs intentionally walked, securing the win for Cheney.
Head coach Mike Cagle praised the depth of the batting order. Bonilla and VanWormer are usually at the top of the lineup while Gleave and the Jones brothers hit in the middle or the bottom.
“We’ve got power all the way down the line,” Cagle said. “Pratt’s triple, you don’t get that from a lot of batters in the ninth spot.”
Pratt (7-3) got the win on the mound, throwing 12 strikeouts, bringing his season total to 98 in 58 innings.
“Connor fought through that game after the two-run home run,” Cagle said. “In that last inning, we did a good job of not letting Ellensburg bring in the tying run. Connor faced Ellensburg’s best hitters and we got through the inning without them doing a lot of damage.”
Cagle also praised Pratt’s brother Logan Pratt, who made a couple of key plays at first base.
“There was a sturdy 18-20 mile-per-hour wind that had an effect on the game,” Cagle said. “Our infield wasn’t throwing the ball well, but Logan Pratt was able to dig deep and pick off a couple of runners.”
In the GNL title game against West Valley, the Blackhawks took an early lead in the top of the first after Kyle Jones hit a two-RBI single.
With the score tied 7-7 in the fourth, Cheney took back the lead with two runs, only for West Valley to tie it again. The Eagles secured the lead with runs in the fifth and sixth. Cheney’s comeback was limited to one run in the top of the seventh.
“We’ll get behind a few runs, but my guys won’t lie down,” Cagle said.
At the plate, Bonilla was 2 for 5 with two RBIs. Gleave was both 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Cameron Wiseman (0-2) and King shared pitching duties.
“We lost the district title game, but in hindsight it worked out better for us,” Cagle said.
While Cheney was playing Ellensburg, West Valley lost to East Valley-Yakima, 2-0.
The Blackhawks (13-10) will play the Fife Trojans in the first round of the state tournament, May 23.
“It’s been a lot of fun at this point but we would like to play 3-4 more games,” Cagle said. “If we play good defense, we can be competitive with any team.”