Sequim baseball team's season came to an end the same way it played out all spring long: with mountains and valleys, short of the Wolves' ultimate goal but with a hard fight and little regret.
Sequim dropped a 7-4 decision to River Ridge Saturday morning in Yelm, falling from the class 2A playoffs in the opening round.
One bad inning, a six-run fourth, spoiled the Wolves' first appearance in the state playoffs since 1997.
River Ridge's Brandon Boyle struck out 11 Sequim batters and scattered eight hits over seven innings for his seventh win of the season (7-1).
Despite their best efforts - picking off two Hawks runners from second base and catching one stealing, getting two steals themselves, beating out two infield hits and scoring three runs with two outs - the Wolves' season is over.
"One bad inning - we couldn't get out of it," Sequim coach Dave Ditlefsen said. "They (the Wolves) didn't let down. It's a tribute to their character."
It looked as if Alex Gillis, Sequim's southpaw ace, were to match Boyle pitch for pitch Saturday morning, striking out four and giving up one unearned run in the first three innings. But the junior hurler lost a touch of control in
After Spencer Middleton tied the contest at 1-1 with an RBI double in the top of the inning, Gillis gave up a one-out RBI single to Boyle. Gillis came back to strike out pinch-hitter Marques Ford but then hit three consecutive Hawks with pitches - each in the foot.
Middleton came on in relief and Hawk cleanup hitter Emil Swartling roped a bases-clearing double for a 7-1 River Ridge lead.
The Wolves got two runs back in the top of the fifth. Reed Omdal, who led off the inning with one of his two singles, scored on a wild pitch, and Jason Baker added an RBI single with two outs to score Isaac Yamamoto. River Ridge led 7-3 after five innings.
Reed Omdal added an RBI single to score pinch runner Anthony Washington in the sixth and Middleton kept the Hawks in check for the fifth and sixth innings with three strikeouts.
But Boyle shut down the Wolves in the seventh and final frame, picking up strikeouts No. 10 and 11 and inducing an easy grounder to end it.
The Wolves finish 2009 with an 11-12 mark, winning two elimination games just to make it to the state tourney.
Six seniors graduate from this team: Baker, the team's leading hitter; Middleton, a .296 hitter and starting pitcher; Ben and Reed Omdal, the starting catcher and shortstop; along with reserves Matt Holloway and Chris O'Bryant.
That potentially leaves a dozen players - seven juniors and five sophomores - who return to next year's 2010 Wolves squad with state experience.
"We're going to miss our seniors," Ditlefsen said. "Looking ahead, (these guys) have a taste of it. Now they know they belong here."
Ben Omdal said he's going to miss playing with his
Sequim High teammates.
"No regrets really," he said. "(I'll miss) the camaraderie. I've played with a lot of these guys since T-ball. I'll miss a lot of joking around and definitely making it to state."
The senior catcher passed along some of that sentiment to the underclassmen in their final team meeting of the 2009 season.
"You know next year, if you come here (and get the same result), you won't be happy," Omdal told them. "I won't be happy."
River Ridge advanced to the state tourney quarterfinals where they dropped a 9-8 decision to Selah.
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.