KENNEWICK — The last thing the Eastmont Wildcats were worried about heading into the postseason was their hitting ability.
Funny how things work out.
Hanford ace Dan Schiebe stifled the powerful Wildcats lineup, holding them to three hits in a complete game shutout to lead the Falcons to a 2-0 victory in a loser-out first round Big Nine 3A district tournament contest Saturday.
Eastmont, which has 11 seniors on its roster and reached the 2010 4A state tournament, had not been shut out this season before Saturday.
“We’re really (disappointed), honestly, to have the year end the way it did with us not advancing as far as we hoped,” said Eastmont coach Brandon Schmitten. “We had a lot of injuries, and we played in an incredibly tough league. The stars weren’t aligned for us like they were last year.”
Though Schiebe walked four batters and hit another, he scattered Eastmont’s three hits — singles by Ian Sagdal and Darren Spaeth, and a double by Reed Jaspers — and struck out six.
Sagdal was solid on the mound for the Wildcats, striking out seven and yielding just three hits, one walk, and one hit batter.
But Ryan Neal did the damage at the plate for Hanford, finishing 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI.
“We knew we were going to have to produce runs, and we tried to do that early with sacrifice bunts and moving runners over,” Schmitten said. “But we couldn’t come up with the big hit. Give credit to their pitcher — he was phenonomal. Ian was lights-out, too. Things just didn’t go our way.”
Eastmont 3, Mt. Spokane 2
Despite relinquishing a two-goal halftime lead, Eastmont bought itself at least two more postseason games thanks to Josh Vanassche’s 72nd-minute header goal in loser-out Big Nine 3A/Greater Spokane League first round regional play.
Mauricio Perez scored twice in the first half off Joel Villa passes for the Wildcats.
“We were just playing our game of continued pressure and a united offense, moving the ball,” said first-year Eastmont coach Eric Duffey.
Mt. Spokane’s Jack Gularte and Alex Drinkard found the back of the net early in the second half to tie the game.
“We must have fatigued in the second half, and runs opened up for them a little bit,” said Duffey.
Eastmont plays at Big Nine champ Southridge at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the regional semifinals.
Okanogan scored on a free kick in overtime to register a 3-2 victory over visiting Manson. The Bulldogs advance to take on Cascade on Tuesday, while the Trojans’ season is over.
The Kodiaks advanced with a 4-1 win over host Lakeside. Bennie Camerena tallied three goals for Cascade.
Brewster also remained alive with an 8-0 win over host Colville, with Roberto Velasco scoring four goals. The Bears will take on Warden on Tuesday.
Warden advanced with a shootout victory over regular-season CTL champ Chelan. The game was tied 1-1 after regulation and overtime, and Warden prevailed 4-2 on penalty kicks.
World sports writer Doug Flanagan contributed to this report.