Ferndale baseball picked up its second win of the season after beating Squalicum 9-3 in a non-league road matchup March 17 in Bellingham.
The Golden Eagles’ sticks were on from the get-go. With two outs and runners at the corners in the top of the first inning, a deep double put the visiting team up 2-0.
After crafting three strikeouts in the bottom of the first inning, Ferndale senior pitcher Dylan Strom continued to deal in the second, this time resulting in two groundouts. Squalicum got on base from a bunt but the batter was soon hosed trying to steal second by Ferndale senior catcher Andrew James.
The Golden Eagles returned to bat in the top of the third, but their first two hitters were quickly retired. James stepped up to the plate and smashed one to the right-center gap. As the outfielder picked up the ball, he was already well on his way to third. James turned the corner and the throw to the plate was barely off target as he slid under the catcher’s tag to record an inside-the-park home run.
“I’m feeling good. It’s just two [wins] for now, but I feel like we’re on a roll,” James said. “We got a lot of good guys that we’ve played a lot of years with.”
The Storm closed up the top of the third inning and went back to hit again. Ferndale recorded an out on a drop third strike before Squalicum junior Brady Scambell walked on five pitches then stole second.
Ferndale’s Strom recorded another strikeout then walked another Squalicum hitter. With runners on first and second, senior Eli Knowlton knocked a single to load the bases. After a brief mound visit, Strom forced a flyout to center field to retire the side.
Ferndale sophomore Talon Bungard opened the fourth inning by reaching second base on a fielder’s choice, and attempted to steal third, but the next hitter put a line drive right in the second baseman’s glove for an easy inning-ending double play.
The Golden Eagles were then able to push one more across the plate via a sacrifice fly from junior Camden Raymond in the top of the fifth, before Storm sophomore starting pitcher Ben Hebert recorded an inning-ending strikeout.
Ferndale let a runner on after a fielding error on a bunt, but Strom and the defense worked together to hold Squalicum scoreless to close out the bottom of the fifth inning.
“I just wanted to go in there, throw strikes and let the defense make plays,” Strom said. “This year is pretty fun. It’s our last year being together since we started playing together at 8 years old.”
Strom led off the top of the sixth for Ferndale with a double to the right-center gap. Squalicum then brought down two pop flies — one being a diving effort from junior Josh Kreta.
Ferndale then drew two-straight walks to load the bases, before Ferndale senior Jordan Mason also walked in a run. Senior Jake Mason then hit a two-run double to extend Ferndale’s lead to 7-0.
Squalicum pushed on to the final half inning of the game, walking five times to bring in two runs before senior Hayden Hollingsworth then hit into a double play but drove in another run. Although Squalicum’s eight plate appearances in the bottom of the seventh matched that of Ferndale’s highly productive top of the eighth, the Storm could find the same success and the Golden Eagles closed out the side to end the game.
Ferndale starts off its season as a senior-heavy team, all battling for spots in a lineup.
“It might take us some time to find who the nine guys are … but I like how we’re competing and a lot of guys are getting after it,” Ferndale coach Donny Hennigs said.
Ferndale (2-0, 0-0 NWC) will next face Enumclaw in a non-league home game at noon on March 18.
Squalicum (1-1, 0-0 NWC) hosts Mariner (Everett) in a non-league game at 1 p.m. on March 18.