The student news site of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington

The Clipper

The student news site of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington

The Clipper

The student news site of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington

The Clipper

After split with Edmonds, Trojans one win from North Region title

Sam Whitney
Wyatt Queen leads the team with eight wins, and has a 1.05 ERA over 51.1 innings

A dark, gloomy rain-soaked evening is not typically the setting of an intense pitchers duel with a playoff spot at stake, but that’s exactly what happened at Funko Field on Monday.

Everett’s Wyatt Queen and Edmonds’ Will Franklin squared off in game one, and it took until the fifth inning for a runner to set foot on second base, let alone to come close to scoring a run.

Edmonds mounted the first real threat of the game in the top of the sixth, beginning with the leadoff batter reaching on an error by the Trojans left fielder.

Following a groundout and a steal of third, the Tritons had an excellent chance to break the stalemate. Queen battled back, collecting his seventh strikeout to improve his chances of escaping his first jam of the game.

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In a 1-1 count to the next batter, Queen coughed up a weak line drive into shallow left field to give Edmonds the lead. At least, that’s what he thought happened.

“I thought it was getting down, I’m not gonna lie.”

Shortstop Axel Puls, who took over the position roughly halfway through the season when Jonah Shull moved to first base, made a mad dash back and to his left.

“The second I saw it hit I knew it had a chance to drop,” Puls said. “It was really weak, (Queen) made a good pitch, so I didn’t want it to drop, and I just put my head down and I got there.”

“I see him catch it, see him celebrate a little bit, I was relieved, you know,” Queen said. “Just got out of it and gave the guys a chance.”

The Trojans offense capitalized on that chance the next half inning, finally breaking the scoreless tie with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Micah Coleman.

Working with a lead, Queen went back out for a scoreless seventh inning and racked up his eighth strikeout of the night.

For Queen, the additional stakes of the game didn’t cause any anxiety that wasn’t already present.

“Just business as usual. I get nervous before every game, but that’s ‘cause every game matters,” Queen said. “Just a game, nothin’ too special.”

Right hander AJ Hendrickson took over in the top of the eighth and immediately found himself in hot water after allowing back-to-back singles to start the frame.

One batter later, the Tritons pushed their luck a little too far. On a double steal attempt, Trojans catcher Nate Davis’ throw to third was late, but nabbed the lead runner nonetheless as he overslid the base on the wet turf and was tagged out by third baseman Carson Burns.

Hendrickson took advantage of his newfound momentum, getting a strikeout and a groundout to finish the frame.

Even though Everett couldn’t pick up any insurance tallies in the bottom of the eighth, Hendrickson again took the mound, rather than Nathan Harb, the team’s usual closer.

“(Hendrickson) looked good in the eighth,” said Head Coach Keith Hessler. “We had Harb ready to go in case we needed him, but we trust AJ. He was getting into a groove in the eighth, so we wanted to ride him out.”

Hendrickson rewarded Hessler’s faith with a scoreless ninth, but not without help from his defense.

With one out and a runner on first, Hendrickson gave up a single into center field. The Tritons base runner made the turn around second and headed for third, but was cut down by a strong, accurate throw from center fielder Colin Beazizo.

Hubbell is 7-1 with a 1.01 ERA over a team-leading 71 innings. (Sam Whitney)

With one close game secured in their favor, it would be more of the same for the Trojans in game two with Ethan Hubbell on the mound.

The sophomore right hander matched zeros with Tritons starter Lathan Haywood for eight innings, with the two combining to allow just six hits and strike out 15 batters.

In the top of the ninth, Harb entered the game for Everett looking to preserve the scoreless tie.

With a runner on first and one out, the batter skied a fly ball high in the air into shallow left field. Again, Puls came through with a sparkling play.

“I didn’t think it was my ball at first, I thought it was in left,” Puls said. “I looked up, I lost it, I couldn’t find it. Cooper (McBride) out in left couldn’t find it.”

Puls, facing away from the infield, dove to his right and made a spectacular grab.

“I thought it was closer to (McBride), but then I heard Micah (Coleman) yelling ‘Axel! Axel!’ I looked up and I saw it at the last second.”

Later in the inning, with runners on first and third and two outs, Harb had to throw everything but the kitchen sink in an effort to get the third out of the inning.

As it turned out, he should’ve thrown the sink too. After seven foul balls, the batter dumped a single into center field on an offspeed pitch to give Edmonds their first run, and lead, of the day.

Not deterred by the rain, now pouring, or the deficit on the scoreboard, Shull took a walk to lead off the bottom of the ninth.

Looking to advance the tying run to second, Davis laid down a bunt right in front of the plate. The new Edmonds pitcher fielded and fired to first, but his throw was high and wide and sailed into right field.

Now with the tying run on third and the winning run on second, the Trojans had all the momentum back in their favor.

Designated hitter Keaton Fisher worked the count full and drew what was far from an ordinary walk. The ball four-pitch flew past the catcher and to the backstop, allowing Shull to score the tying run, and Davis to advance to third.

“We were competing all game, Hubbell gave us a chance to win, and that was just the cherry on top right there,” Davis said. (Sam Whitney)

Three pitches later, it happened again. The catcher dove for an errant pitch and missed. Davis broke for the plate.

There was no play, Davis scored, and the celebration began. Behind a combined 15 scoreless innings from Queen and Hubbell, Everett clinched a playoff spot in walk off fashion.

“Any time (Queen) or Hubbell are out there, the team knows we have a chance,” Hessler said. “That’s what our starter’s job is, to get deep into games and give us a chance to win.”

“I felt like I was in control on the mound,” Hubbell said. “I battled my way through it for the boys, and I couldn’t really do it without them. I’m so proud of this team.”

Unfortunately, Queen and Hubbell were not on the mound for games three and four on Tuesday at Edmonds, and the Trojans fell in both by scores of 8-1 and 2-1.

With four games to play and needing one more win to outright clinch a North Region title, Everett will look to do just that next weekend against Skagit Valley.

“We want to finish this year strong,” Hessler said. “We’re still going for it. Every game we go out and compete, and we’re gonna keep the same mentality.”

Five of the Trojans’ 16 regional wins have been in come-from-behind fashion. (Sam Whitney)

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Sam Whitney
Sam Whitney, Managing Editor of Content
What is your dream job? My ultimate dream job would be to work as an analytical sportswriter for or FanGraphs, breaking down aspects of baseball and sharing my passion for the game with others. It would also be awesome if I could somehow work my way into a front office job with an MLB organization. When you aren't doing things for the Clipper, what can you be found doing? Away from the Clipper, I can often be found reading or watching anything baseball-related that I can find. Otherwise, I might be spending time with friends, playing with my dog Cashmere, or reading about history. And sleeping. Lots of sleeping. Which historical or fictitious figure do you most identify with?  The fictitious figure I like to identify with is Steve Harrington from Stranger Things. I may not always be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I have my moments, and I'm protective of those I care about and I'm there for them when it counts.

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