For someone with such clean and impressive pitching numbers, you would think Dylan Bishop enjoys most the brisk three-up, three-down innings he so often generates.
Not at all.
He’s a high-stress grinder at heart, and Selah’s run to a Class 2A state championship last month benefited greatly from his ability to prevail in the toughest moments. He may encounter a few situations just like that this weekend as the Vikings’ representative in the All-State Baseball Series at Parker Faller Field.
“More baseball is always a good thing, but this is special,” he said. “One more time to play for Selah, that definitely means a lot to me.”
Bishop is one of five local seniors who will be among 76 of the state’s best in all-star doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday and he can contribute in a variety of ways even at this level — a stout right-hander with an effective range of pitches, a third baseman comfortable at the hot corner and a leadoff hitter who batted .388 this spring and led his team in stolen bases.
That versatility was developed with a hard edge of resolve over the last two seasons and what a nice time to reap the rewards.
After falling in the first round of state in each of the two previous seasons, Bishop helped the Vikings break through three weeks ago with a three-hit gem to dispatch North Kitsap in their state opener. But it was his next outing, in the semifinals at Yakima County Stadium, that Bishop will remember as his best during his 8-1 campaign.
Selah prevailed 3-0 over Archbishop Murphy and Bishop worked 6⅔ innings with eight strikeouts, but he faced several tense situations with the Wildcats advancing a runner into scoring position in three of the first four innings.
“I was definitely pumped for that North Kitsap game, but I was most proud of the semifinal because I had to battle through some tough situations,” he recalled. “I like that kind of game because it makes me bare down and focus and make good pitches. With guys on base and in tough counts, that’s when I pitch my best.”
That sounds a lot like the mentality of a closer, which Bishop nearly was this spring. Selah was set to return two left-handed aces in Payton Andreas and Reid Rasmussen, but when Rasmussen was sidelined with an injury a starters’ spot suddenly came open.
“My sophomore year I was the JV shortstop and would pitch a few varsity innings. It was my year of learning from the older guys,” he explained. “Last year I played third and was the closer mostly. When Reid got hurt I had to step up and show what I could do. It was tough for us to lose a guy like Reid, so I had to do my part.”
Bishop beefed up his experience with five starts and 12 relief appearances for the Yakima Valley Pepsi Pak during its run to the Senior Legion state title last summer. He’s excited to help the Pak chase a third straight title this year and then, after a year at Whitworth, perhaps come back for another summer in the program his father was a part of coming out of West Valley.
But before all that is one more opportunity to be a Viking. Of course, just a couple weeks removed from the championship celebration, he’s a Viking for life.
“What I’ll always remember was the energy of the team and how positive everyone was,” he said. “It was a great culture the way we all worked together and everybody made a big impact. Everything came together perfectly.”