Photo by Amylynn Richards
In the state's Top Four
Braves Baseball team is in top four in state and will be in the State Championships this weekend in Yakima.
Photo by Ed Baker
Garrett's game face
La Conner Braves' Garrett Wilbur pitched a two-hit shutout and struck out 10 batters in Saturday's game against Concrete.
Photo by Christy Hoagland
For the first time since 1991, the La Conner Braves Boys Track Team has won the Tri-District championship. Shown here from left are track team members Conner Anderson, Todd Hoagland and Sten Mejlaender.
By Amylynn Richards
ALL SPORTS TO STATE
For the first time in known Brave history, Golf, Track, Baseball and Fastpitch teams are all headed to 2B State competition. “All four teams have not gone to State at one time, before, least not in recent history,” says Athletic Director Peg Seeling.
The boy’s Baseball Team is in the state final four – for the first time since 1999, the year that Coach Jeremiah LeSourd and assistant Coach Andy Otis were seniors at La Conner high.
Making the final four is all the sweeter for the Braves this year; two years ago, the Braves had only eight boys turn out. “Luckily, four boys joined at the last minute, to give us a team of twelve,” LeSourd said.
The Braves won the first round of the 2B State Regional Tournament in Anacortes on Saturday, May 21 15-2 against Toutle Lake. The Braves got off to a quick start scoring four runs on five consecutive hits with two outs in the first inning. The Braves were held scoreless in the second inning, but in the third they scored 7 runs to give sophomore pitcher Tyler Howlett all the run support he would need. Howlett pitched a complete game, allowing five hits and striking out 8. Leading hitters: Dakota Hartley, 3 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI; Matt McCauley, 4 for 5 with 2 RBI; Garrett Wilbur, 3 for 4 with a double; Wil James, 2 for 3 with a double, triple and 4 RBI's; and Kyle McKnight, 2 for 4 with a double a 2 RBI.
In the second game that same day, the Braves beat the Concrete Lions 5-0 in what started out as a slow, game into a nail bitter by the fourth inning. This was the third time Braves and Lions have played this year, and this win won the Braves a trip to the State Final Four in Yakima.
LeSourd said, “This game was a pitching duel and was the best game between the schools this year.” The Braves offense had the bases loaded in the first inning, but was unable to score and would leave six runners on base through the first three innings. In the fourth inning – with two outs and the bases loaded – Garrett Wilbur hit a two run single up the middle to score Tanner Cyr and Kyle McKnight. Tyler Howlett followed with a double off the Center Field wall, scoring DJ Carr and Garrett Wilbur. The Braves added another run in the sixth inning in exciting fashion. Kyle McKnight walked to get on base.
Concrete's pitcher tried to pick him off of first, but the throw got past the first baseman and McKnight was able to advance all the way to third base. McKnight then scored on a close play at home on a pass ball. The game culminated with senior Garrett Wilbur pitching a two hit shutout, while striking out 10 batters. He allowed just one base runner to reach third base. “Wilbur's strong pitching and clutch hit helped send the Braves to Yakima,” LeSourd said.
The Braves are schedule to play Warden in the 2B State Semi-final at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 28 in Yakima at Parker Field.
The Braves boys’ track team has won the Tri-District Championship, for the first time since 1991 – before the current track team was even born. The Braves scored 126, Tacoma Baptist won second with 121, and Concrete came in third, with 114. The girls came in fourth out of ten teams.
State competition begins on Friday, May 27 at the University of Eastern Washington in Cheney. Headed for State are: Sammie Mesman, 1600 meter race; Pricilla Ponce-Venegas, 300 meter hurdles; Chrissy Barsness, Lydia Lenning, Sammie Mesman and Madi Cavanaugh will compete in the 4x400 meter relay; Conner Anderson, 200 meter race; Sam Traylor, 3200 meter; Sten Mejlaender, 110 meter and 300 meter hurdles; Nathan Sybrandy, Sten Mejlaender, Conner Anderson and Todd Hoagland are competing in the 4x400 meter relay; Jamal James will compete in the high jump, triple jump and long jump; Landy James, high jump and javelin; Brandon Drye, shot put and discus.
The girls are in the 2B Sweet Sixteen statewide, and compete first against Kettle Falls high on Friday, May 27 at 9 a.m. at the Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima. In the case of a Brave win over Kettle Falls, the girls next play either Mossyrock or Brewster at 7 p.m. the same day. The winner of that game plays on Saturday, May 28 at noon. Finally, the two teams left standing in this bracket play for first and third the same day at 4 p.m. Northwest League-mate Orcas Island is also state-bound.
The girls competed on Saturday, May 21 in Stanwood against Seattle Lutheran to earn the State-bound berth. The Braves won 8-2. The Braves’ 8 runs were from nine hits, with three errors. Lauren McClung was 2 for 4 with 2 triples, 2 RBI, and stuck out 11 Seattle Lutheran batters; Samie Miller was 1 for 2 with 1 triple and 1 RBI; Taysha James was 1 for 3 with a double and 1 RBI; Galena Graham had 8 put-outs and 1 assist; and Alissa McCoy was 2 for 4 with 1RBI.
The Braves played a second game against Orcas that same day, but saved their energy – the game was for seeding only. Orcas won 13-0.