Cruisers battle way into playoffs

Cruisers battle way into playoffs

Cruisers battle way into playoffs

A day after both teams combined to score 19 runs in a 10-9 win for the Cruisers, both Eatonville and Orting were a little handcuffed at the plate.

Pitching seemed to be the word of the evening as Eatonville’s Andrew Wiklund got the start on the mound for the Cruisers and he did not disappoint. Wiklund baffled the Cardinal hitters all evening and held them scoreless, allowing only three hits, walking two, and fanning 11 Cardinal hitters in his six innings of work.

Coach Mike Moeller praised his pitcher’s work ethic and durability.

“[Wiklund] has been huge for us. He is our workhorse, going deep into games and competes hard,” he said. “He loves getting the ball and has thrown some big games for us this year.”

Zach Smith started things off offensively for the Cruisers in the top of the first inning with a hard hit single up the middle into centerfield. He would then advance to second on a balk by the pitcher.

With Smith still on second, Wiklund stepped to the plate and hit a too-hot-to-handle ground ball to the second baseman that squirted by him into right centerfield, scoring Smith.

The Cruisers would carry that 1-0 lead into the 5th inning. In the bottom of that inning, Smith would lead off with a double down the left field line. He would advance to third on a throwing error by the left fielder on the play. A few batters later, Wiklund again would hit a hard ball to the second baseman that he could not handle. Smith would score. Catcher Wade Wikander would then hit a hard liner up the middle to move courtesy runner Colin Blake over to second. Third baseman David Garoutte would then hit a single to right field allowing Blake to trot home. That would end the scoring for Eatonville on the night.

Moeller would then turn the ball over to his bullpen to work the seventh inning.  Garoutte got the call and ran into a little struggle. After giving up a lead off single, Garoutte would then fan the next batter. He walked the next batter, had the third batter pop out and followed that up with another walk to load the bases.

An infield single pushed across Orting’s lone run of the game. Garoutte would then get the next batter to pop up to left fielder Chance Pettygrove to end the game and secure the 3-1 victory for the Cruisers.

Smith and Garoutte would both have two hit nights for the Cruisers, while Wiklund and Garoutte would both drive in one run a piece.

Moeller had a lot to say about Smith’s hot bat.

“[Smith]’s baseball IQ is off the charts, he is the perfect leadoff hitter, gets on bases, smart and aggressive baserunner, and finds a way to score,” he said. “He is our catalyst, embraces that role, and is a very important part of the lineup.”

The win pushes the Cruisers record to 11-5 on the season (9-5 in league). They now have a secure hold on 3rd place and a berth into the district playoffs. They will play a couple of non-league games to finish out the regular season and tune up for districts.

A large Eatonville contingent traveled to Cheney Stadium for the game, prompting some more comments from Moeller.

“It was a lot of fun to see so many Eatonville faces out there. It made for a great night,” he said. “I don't have the final numbers, including pre-sales and the tickets we gave Orting to sell and handout, but just at the gate last night alone, we sold around 240 tickets, a little over half were adults and under half were student/child. So it was a big night. The money will be going into redoing all our batting cages for the school as well as the community.”

ORTING            0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1   1  5  4

EATONVILLE  1  0  0  0  0  2  0  X   3  6  0




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