With two runners on base in the top of the seventh inning, Emerald Ridge catcher Dominik Zombik unleashed a throw to first base to pick off a Rogers base runner to put the exclamation point on a 3-2 Jaguars (9-5) victory against the Rams (5-10) on April 16 at Heritage Park in Puyallup.
Rogers head coach Matt Whitehead was disappointed his team wasn’t able to complete the comeback in the seventh.
“We came on strong at the end. It was a hard-fought game and we played as hard as we could. We just didn’t get it done,” Whitehead said.
Emerald Ridge head coach Larry Marshall said he was impressed with the performance of starting pitcher Chad Gideon and reliever Nate Packard. Packard gave up two runs in the top of the seventh, but didn’t give up the lead as the Jaguars walked away with the victory.
“Our pitching staff really needs to position ourselves to carry us a little bit. We’re so young and our pitching staff is sophomores for the most part and they are getting better and better each game,” Marshall said. “The thing that is important is this process that we’re installing takes time. It just doesn’t happen overnight. Our whole goal is to find ways to develop the process and get better and better every day when we go onto the field. They are doing a great job. They understand the process and that is what is going to do us well toward the end of the season.”
Marshall said the pick-off play for the final out was improvised by Zombik behind the plate.
“We (coaching staff) did not call that. We call everything and we did not call that,” Marshall said with a grin. “The last three or four games we have had our third baseman, shortstop and now our catcher calling plays out there that we don’t have to put in the game. That’s part of that process where they are feeling comfortable in doing something like that. It paid off for us.”