SEASIDE - The Sweet Home baseball team made the long drive to Seaside Friday afternoon in hopes of finding a win in the Class 4A first-round state playoff game. The Huskies had a long disappointing ride home after losing 12-6.
When they arrived at Broadway Park they found cold winds and light rain. They also found a Seaside team that looked more like a team in spring training than a playoff team during pre-game warm ups.
Seaside pitcher Mitch DeGandi started the game by walking the first batter and allowing one run and one hit in the inning. With first-round playoff jitters showing throughout the dugout, Seaside senior Will Beatty demonstrated his veteran leadership as he took the lead.
He started off the first inning with a single to left center. Beatty stole second and third base on an overthrow. This lit the spark in the Seaside camp and the team was ready to get down to business.
With Beatty in scoring position, right fielder Mark Thysell laid down a well-placed bunt to third base and legged out the tag at first. Beatty scored.
Sweet Home scored in the second inning and in the third.
Things were beginning to look grim for the Warriors when Sweet Home loaded the bases in the top of the third. With two outs, DeGandi picked off the runner at first with a lightning quick move.
As the sun began to appear, so did the Gulls' bats in the bottom of the third. Seaside's Jeremy Carow started the inning by launching the first pitch over the left field fence for a solo homer.
Beatty followed with a powerful double to the gap in left center. Then Beatty showed he came to play defense in the fourth as he dove to catch on the slide a short fly to left field.
Going into the top of the fifth, DeGandi had shaken the playoff jitters and struck out the first three batters. With the score tied at 3-3 it was time for the Gulls to show they came to win. The Gulls hit throughout the line up with singles by Matt Mizell, Ross Knutsen, Thysell and a two-run single by Beatty. Alec Carlson roped a powerful two-run double and scored as well.
Sweet Home started out the sixth by showing they could hit too. The Huskies hit four singles and scored three runs.
Seaside coach Joel Dierickx brought in reliever Salvador Oros in the middle of the sixth. He made quick work of the final two batters. He threw three consecutive breaking balls to the final batter leaving the bewildered player staring in awe.
Once again, the Gulls fired up their bats in the bottom of the sixth. Matt Mizell started things off with a single to left center. Oros misread the sign and watched the first pitch go by. After a short conference with Dierickx, Oros read the sign correctly and knocked a choppy bunt down the third base line. Oros beat out the throw to first and the Gulls had men on first and second.
"I am known more for my pitching, not my hitting. That was my fourth hit of the season and it was by far the best one!" Oros said.
Beatty once again hit a forceful single scoring both runners. Thysell followed up with a stand-up triple down the left field line advancing Beatty to home.
Mizell returned to the plate for the second time in the inning with the bases loaded. He hit a line drive single and DeGandi scored. With a score of 12-6 at the top of the seventh inning parents and fans could smell a win and were beginning to make road trip plans for the 350-mile trip south to Henley, near Klamath Falls.
"We are glad just be able to play ball one more day," Beatty said. "I am willing to do whatever it takes for our team to win. I am just glad to be back in the playoffs where we belong."