West Seattle knocks Patriots out of state

June 5, 2008

By Jim Feehan

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Liberty sophomore John McLeod strokes an RBI single in the top of the sixth inning against Issaquah High School on May 10. Photo by Greg Farrar

The Liberty High School baseball team, hoping to follow Issaquah’s 2007 path to the 3A state regionals, lost to West Seattle 6-3 May 13 in a playoff game for the finals District 2 state berth.

West Seattle got on the scoreboard in the first inning with a two-run home run by Tyler Cherin. Ryan Wiggins hit a solo home run in the second for the Wildcats. Both home runs barely made it over the fence in the cozy confines of Southwest Athletic Complex in West Seattle.

“Those were two balls that hit the top of the fence and went over,” said Liberty coach Scott Colby. “Sometimes, it’s a game of inches.”

Liberty fell behind 3-0 in the second inning and was unable to overcome the deficit.

“We’re a team built around small ball and pitching,” Colby said. “But I couldn’t be more proud of my players who stepped up to the challenge.”

Nick Hart had three hits and scored two runs, and Justin Johnson drove in two runs for the Patriots.

Things turned for the worse when shortstop Eric Peterson went down with an injury in the third inning. The Patriots were without the services of Jaron Iwakami, who was injured in the first playoff game against Skyline. 

“You work with the hand you are dealt,” he said. “We certainly missed Eric and Jaron in our arsenal.”

Liberty began the season winning five of its first six games. The Eagles finished the year 13-10 overall and 9-7 in the KingCo 3A. Liberty went 3-1 in the KingCo tournament – including two impressive wins against Skyline – to make it to the KingCo 3A/Metro playoff game against West Seattle.

Building on the success of this year, Colby said he is excited for the 2009 season.

Liberty will see the return of all of its infielders led by the double-play combination of Peterson and second baseman Troy Colyer.

“I have to say they’re the best middle infielders in the league,” he said.

First baseman John Mcleod and third baseman Nick Hart round out the infield.

Liberty will have two big holes to fill, Colby said – Iwakami in center field and Chandler Tracy behind the plate. Iwakami was second in batting average, at .358, and led the Patriots with nine steals. Tracy led the team in batting with a .365 average.



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