Clutch hits, free passes fuel Capital baseball's seventh-inning rally
Lewiston pitcher Julian Washburn dominated Capital through six innings, carrying a one-hit shutout into the seventh.
But luckily for Capital, high school baseball games are seven innings.
The Eagles (18-7) erupted for six runs in the top of the seventh, rallying for a 6-2 victory Thursday in the first round of the 5A state tournament at Borah High.
“We definitely made it difficult on ourselves,” Capital coach Tony Brulotte said. “There are definitely easier ways to do it. But we’re pretty resilient.”
The come-from-behind victory lifts Capital into the 5A state semifinals for the third time in four years. The Eagles face Timberline (20-7) at 1 p.m. Friday at Borah for a spot in the state championship.
Capital struggled to make any contact on Washburn early. The Lewiston ace struck out eight of the first 10 he faced and didn’t allow Capital to put a ball in play until the final out of the third inning.
But by the fourth time through the lineup, the Eagles had timed Washburn. Capital’s Coby Roberts led off the seventh with a single, and Payton Hamilton’s base hit loaded the bases.
Then Lewiston imploded.
Washburn walked in a run, forcing the Bengals to bring in Riley Way in relief. He hit Ryan Hibbs with his first pitch to tie the game, then walked Jordan Godeny-Scott for the go-ahead run.
Capital left fielder Grayson Sterling followed with a two-run double down the right-field line, and a throwing error on the relay pushed across the Eagles’ sixth run of the inning.
Despite entering the seventh down to its last three outs, Sterling said all the pressure was on the mound, not in Capital’s dugout.
“We haven’t been hitting well the whole game, so it’s on him to throw us strikes,” Sterling said. “When it’s way out, it’s easy to take because we’re looking for something in our zone. We don’t feel any pressure on us. He still has to throw the ball across the plate and give us a chance to swing.”
Capital ace Drew Zmuda got off to a rocky start, allowing a pair of doubles in a two-run first inning. But the Grand Canyon signee settled in and only allowed one more hit while striking out seven through 6 ⅓ innings.
CAPITAL 6, LEWISTON 2
Capital (18-7) — Hitters: Grayson Sterling 1-4 (2B, 2 RBIs), Mitch Dean 1-2, Coby Roberts 1-4, Payton Hamilton 1-3. Pitchers: Drew Zmuda (W) 6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.
Lewiston (18-7) — Hitters: Jaret Driskill 2-4 (2B), Luke White 1-2, Jaden Phillips 1-3 (2B, RBI). Pitchers: Julian Washburn (L) 6+ IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 9 K; Riley Way 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K.