With a roster anchored by eight seniors and a wealth of big game experience, it should come as no surprise that the Selah Vikings are not intimidated in tight situations.
That’s why Friday night, Dylan Bishop was able to pitch his way out of trouble. It’s why No. 9 hitter Chase Ergeson didn’t flinch when he had a chance to deliver a clutch base hit.
No moment seems too big for these Vikings, and that is why they’ll be playing for their second state baseball title in four seasons.
Bishop threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings and Ergeson created some breathing room with a two-out, two-run single in the fourth, leading Selah to a 3-0 victory over Archbishop Murphy in a Class 2A state semifinal game at Yakima County Stadium.
“Because we’ve been in these situations before, it’s easy to shut things out,” said Bishop, who allowed five hits while striking out eight.
“We had good composure today,” head coach Mike Archer said. “We didn’t panic.”
“We’ve all played together our whole lives,” Ergeson said. “We’re not like a team, we’re like a family. We’re so close.”
And now so close to a championship, with Selah (21-2) set to play Fife (21-3) at 7 p.m. Saturday at County Stadium. Fife advanced with a 2-0 win over Sehome as Judah Graham threw a no-hitter.
Archbishop Murphy (21-5) will face Sehome (17-10) at 1 p.m. for third and fourth place.
Selah expected a tight contest as Bishop squared off against ATM starter Cole Calnon, who pitched the Wildcats into the semifinals.
Both lived up to billing but Bishop needed to work out of jams in each of the first four innings, with ATM putting a runner in scoring position in three of those frames. But the senior kept the Wildcats off the board, with his most impressive work coming in the fourth as ATM put runners at first and third with just one out. He responded by striking out Jack Johnson swinging and caught Victor Gabalis looking on a 3-2 pitch.
“He’s a competitor. He doesn’t quit,” Ergeson said of Bishop, who didn’t finish the game only because he reached the 105-pitch limit on the second hitter in the seventh. “He made pitches when he had to. He wasn’t getting some calls early in the game but he kept his focus and eventually started hitting his spots.”
“He competes,” pitching coach Rob Archer said. “The tougher and tougher the situation, the more he bows his back and goes after it.”
After escaping that jam, Bishop allowed just one more hit, a one-out single in the fifth which was erased on a caught stealing, and another runner on an error in the sixth before capping his night with back-to-back strikeouts looking.
Selah didn’t have much better luck against Calnon, although it did break through thanks to a wild sequence in the third. With runners at first and second and two outs, Carter Young scorched a ball to second that short-hopped the second baseman, who couldn’t make the play, with the ball rolling far enough away to allow Nick Garretson to come home from second on what was scored an RBI single for a 1-0 lead.
The next inning, Ergeson gave Bishop and the Vikings all the insurance they’d need after it looking like they might miss out on a golden opportunity.
With the bases loaded and one out, Brandon Bruner was cut down at the plate on a close play as he tried to score when a pitch went to the backstop. After Garretson was hit by a pitch, Ergeson went the other way, lacing a single to right to score Wyatt Berriman and Garretson for a 3-0 lead.
“I was just waiting for an outside pitch and I finally got one,” said Ergeson, who was 2 for 3 and nearly added a two-run double in the sixth but the ball landed about a foot foul down the right-field line.
“That pulled all the weight off my shoulders,” Bishop said. “Those backup runs gave me more confidence.”
Garretson replaced Bishop and got a soft lineout to second to send Selah back to the championship game.
“Ergy came big ... and Bish did what we expected,” Mike Archer said, adding that it’s always a thrill to be in this position, saying, “It never gets old.”
FIFE 2, SEHOME 0: Graham was in trouble only once, loading the bases in the third inning on two walks and a hit batter, but he got out of the jam with a fielder’s choice. That started a stretch where he retired the final 13 Sehome hitters to close out the no-hitter.
Graham struck out six.
Offensively, Ryan Moreno and Brian Ours teamed up to produce all the runs, with Moreno scoring both and Ours, who was 2 for 3, driving him in each time.
In addition, AJ Guerrero was 2 for 4 with a double for Fife, which is assured of its best finish ever with just a fourth place in 2016 prior to this season.
Selah 3, Archbishop Murphy 0
ATM 000 000 0 — 0 5 3
Selah 001 200 x — 3 8 1
Calnon and Ennis; Bishop, Garretson (7) and Pettyjohn.
Highlights: Derek Trobough (ATM) 2-3, 2b; Dylan Bishop (S) 8 Ks; Chase Ergeson (S) 2-3, 2 RBI; Nick Garretson (S) 1-2, run; Carter Young (S) 1-3, RBI; Wyatt Berryman (S) 1-3, run; Caden Herbst (S) run.
Fife 2, Sehome 0
Fife 000 101 0 — 2 6 1
Sehome 000 000 0 — 0 0 3
Graham and McCorkle; Kaepernick and DeLisle.
Highlights: Judah Graham (F) no-hitter, 6 Ks, 2 bb, 1 hbp; Ryan Moreno (F) 1-3, 2 runs; Brian Ours (F) 2-3, 2 RBI; AJ Guerrero (F) 2-4, 2b.