Sports

Eagles’ run finally hits snag.

t Eagles’ run finally hits snag.

By AARON MANAGHAN

Sports Editor

ANACORTES — Sometimes your competition is just too good.

Klahowya baseball coach David Neet said that was the case as the Eagles fell to Sehome High School, of Bellingham, 13-2 on Saturday in the opening regional round of the 2A WIAA State Baseball Championships.

“It’s not like we played that bad,” Neet said. “They just played that good.”

The Mariners (19-4), the No. 2 ranked team in the state on www.washingtonbaseballpoll.com, used a combination of strong pitching and hitting, as well as the tutelage of state hall of fame coach Gary Hatch (himself a 358-game winner over 28 years) to bring Klahowya’s joy ride to a halt. Rusty Devitt made the start for the Eagles.

“It wasn’t too good,” Neet said. “But I’ll tell you what. It was one of those games where they’re very well-coached and they had a game plan. They were tough all the way around. Then again, even their coach said it was one of their best games they’ve played all year. They’re tough; a real good team.”

While the loss stung, particularly for the team’s seniors, Neet said the trip was one they’ll always remember.

“But if you’re a senior, this is how you want to go out,” he said. “State is an accomplishment. I think kids like Chris Miller, it was something where you could see what it meant to him at the end of the game. Same with Isaac Solaita, Josh Ryan, Bruce Monroe. But it’s sad you know?”

But he said it was all too early for everyone, regardless of class standing.

“I have high confidence as a coach, as a coaching staff, and we have high confidence as a team,” Neet said. “When I saw the look of the faces on the team, they may not have been sad at times, but they’re sad in the season being over.

“They weren’t ready for it to be over.”

For all his players, he said the experience of state goes above and beyond the field.

“What makes the experience even better was just playing at a nice facility in front of a big crowd,” Neet said. “Staying in the hotel the night before. They got to live it. That’s a little bit of what state’s all about.”

Neet said the team talked a lot about goals before the game, pointing out that while some, like winning state, might be unattainable, others were not.

“I think the biggest thing is just about understanding each other’s goals. We reached our attainable goal,” he said of making state. “It wasn’t easy. It was hard. We hard to work for it.”

With a large returning core gaining state experience this season, Neet said the team was able to learn a lot, including in tying North Mason for the 2A Olympic League crown. Klahowya finished the year 10-12.

“These are all these things that are the outcome of a good season,” he said. “I’m happy.”

Now Neet said he’s just eager to begin next season to see if the Eagles can push the envelope any farther.

“You hope you can build, just build on what you just went through,” he said.

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