Hazen baseball team eliminated early from post season playoffs

June 5, 2008

By Jim Feehan

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Hazen sophomore Anthony Pina rounds second base and scores the Highlanders first run in their state playoff game May 17 against Issaquah High School. Hazen head coach Chris Chiechi (below) was named Seamount League coach of the year. Photo by Greg Farrar

Several players return next year

Earlier this year, Hazen High School baseball coach Chris Chiechi was looking forward to playing the defending 3A state champion Issaquah Eagles.The game was rained out and since it was a nonconference game for both squads, it was not rescheduled.

But Chiechi got his wish to play Issaquah in the opening round of the state playoffs May 17 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. Issaquah defeated Hazen 20-2 in a game many Highlanders would just as soon forget. 

Chiechi said he was happy the Highlanders made it to the sweet 16. No Hazen team had come this far in past playoffs, he said.

“It would have been nice to compete a little better,” he said. “We’ve learned something. When you get to this level, you have to step it up a notch.” 

Hazen had a strong year leading up to the game with Issaquah. The Highlanders were 12-2 in Seamount League play and 13-7 overall. Hazen beat every Seamount team at least once and the team was undefeated on the road against league opponents. 

Nathan Bunch, the senior pitcher who is bound for Brigham Young University, was named Seamount League MVP last month. During the regular season, Bunch was 4-1, with 58 strikeouts in 37 and 2/3 innings. His earned-run average was 1.12. Bunch had nine strikeouts in a complete-game 4-2 victory against Columbia River High School in Vancouver at the West Central/Southwest 3A bi-district tournament. 

“The team seems to get pumped up when Nathan’s out on the mound,” said Chiechi, who was named Seamount coach of the year.

Chiechi is already looking ahead to 2009. Hazen had only three seniors on its 18-person roster. The Highlanders have two returning players who made the All Seamount League second team – junior catcher Kyle Nation and sophomore third baseman Brenden Campbell.

“We’re real young and we’ll come back to play next year,” Chiechi said.

 

 

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