A pair of sevens came up aces on two diamonds for clubs.
Auburn Mountainview’s Nate Weeldreyer was dominant Tuesday. Auburn Riverside’s Ty Emmons answered with a gem of his own two nights later.
For rival coaches and players, it was a week of phenomenal pitching and classic defense.
Weeldreyer, a senior wearing No. 7, threw a no-hitter, striking out 19 of the 21 batters and walking none, in the Lions’ 2-0 North Puget Sound League Olympic Division road win against the Ravens on an unseasonably warm night.
Emmons, a senior also wearing No. 7, answered by tossing a complete-game, three-hit shutout as the visiting Ravens left chilly Lea Hill with a 2-0 victory.
The split decision left the teams even at 1-1 in the parity-packed division race, with much baseball to play. The Ravens, 4-3 overall, face Todd Beamer for two games next week. The Lions (2-4) are off for a pair of outings against Federal Way.
“We’re just going to do our thing, play our game,” said Ravens coach Marcus Evans. “Everything is going to be a pleasant surprise from here on out, whether it goes our way or not, and I can’t say enough about these group of guys.”
Emmons couldn’t say enough about his teammates, who made several defensive plays to thwart the Lions. One spectacular play saved the game for Auburn Riverside.
With the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Lions’ Vicente Feliciano drilled a deep shot to right field but Sam Spicciati, one of four sophomore starters, came up with the ball on a diving catch that ended the drama.
“I love my defense. They were huge tonight,” said Emmons, a Bellevue College signee who finished with eight strikeouts and only two walks in a 99-pitch outing. “Javon (Forward) had a big catch back here (left field) and Sam over there (in right) made a huge catch. It was a huge defensive effort all around. I owe everybody dinner. It was amazing.”
Emmons, who was effective with his four-seam fastball and curve, struggled to close the door in the seventh, issuing a leadoff walk and, after two outs, hitting back-to-back batters to load the sacks before Spicciati’s great catch ended the rally.
In a tight spot, Emmons stayed calm. His thoughts on the mound?
“I was going back to just days and days and days of working hard in the weight room and on the field with these guys,” he reminded himself. “They had my back through it all. It was awesome.”
The Ravens scored a run each in the first two innings. Forward led off the game with a double to left field, scoring later on Giovani Parascondola’s single. In the second inning, Cade Foster, who singled and advanced to second on a walk to Grant Mattson, came home on an errant pickoff throw to first base.
No-no for Nate
Lions coach Glen Walker didn’t hesitate when asked to describe Weeldreyer’s masterpiece Tuesday.
“It was a game for the ages,” he said.
Evans added: “That was one of the best high school performances I’ve ever watched. He was untouchable. He had everything. … That was a special performance.”
Weeldreyer tied up the Ravens with a fastball that registered in the low-90s, topping out at 94 mph. He mixed in a curveball and change-up, then introduced a slider in the fifth inning. He finished the game throwing an economical 85 pitches.
“I was hitting my spots, my velocity was up, and the guys in the dugout (had) energy,” said Weeldreyer, who admitted he had never pitched a high school game like that before. “It was crazy. It was a fun game overall.”
Fun is what the game is all about for the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Weeldreyer, a 3.7 GPA student who is scholarship bound for Purdue University to play baseball and study either sociology, sports management or business.
Hard work, persistence and good coaching have brought him this far.
“He’s a great kid. He’s a smart kid,” Walker said. “He started setting goals a long time ago, and he would work his tail off to achieve them. And, as he achieved one, he would set a new one. He’s been really working hard. He’s a good leader. He’s got a good mentality.”
Not to mention, character.
“I can’t say enough about the kid,” Evans said. “Every single time I’ve stepped on the field with him, he’s come over and shaken my hand before without having to. One of those kids that you’re going to root for, even though he’s playing for the other team.”
For the Lions, Willis Cresswell had two hits, including a double, and drove in a run. Feliciano had the other RBI.
Spicciati took the loss. He surrendered two runs on four hits over five innings, striking out three.