|Eastern Regional Champions|
Hanford Baseball Wins Regional Title
AJ Hoskins belted a sixth-inning grand slam and the Hanford Falcons put together another late-inning scoring outburst to hold off Mount Spokane 12-7 in the 3A Eastern Regional championship game Saturday afternoon at Waits Field.
Hoskins, a sophomore shortstop who finished second in the CBBN Cascade with a .510 average batting mostly in the No. 9 hole, hit the Falcons' second slam in as many games after Mount Spokane scored four runs in the top of the sixth to close within 7-6.
"Every time they scored in the top of an inning, we answered in the bottom," said Hanford coach Tom DeWitz, whose team advanced to state for the third straight season. "And we answered with more runs than they scored."
The Falcons (13-9) will open state play against Ferndale at noon next Saturday at Yakima County Stadium. West Valley (17-9) knocked off Mount Spokane 9-3 to grab the second berth to state.
Hanford built a 7-2 lead through four innings, with Cody Wagner also going deep. It was plenty of backing for starter Dan Scheibe until he ran into some trouble in the sixth.
Still, the Falcons ace gave up just two earned runs and struck out seven.
Mount Spokane 110 004 1 -- 7 9 1
Hanford 321 110 5 -- 12 9 4
Alex Allard, Seth Heckel (5) and Mike Blankenship; Dan Scheibe, Riley Shintaffer (6), Colin Serkowski (7) and Chris Synoground. Highlights--Nate Blackham (MS) 3x4, 2B, RBI; Preston Van Doren (MS) 2x4, RBI; Matt Benner (MS) 2x3, 2 RBI; Spencer Mallonee (MS) 3B; Synoground (H) 2x4; Cody Wagner (H) 2x4, HR; AJ Hoskins (H) 2x4, GS HR, 4 RBI; Garrett Jones (H) 2 RBI.
Hanford Aces Shadle Park (May 14, 2010)
As often as not, a pair of aces is a winning hand at Safeco Field.
The way James Landen was dealing Friday night, the Hanford Falcons just found their second ace ... or maybe Ace 1A.
Landen tossed a one-hit gem, Dan Scheibe crushed a fifth-inning grand slam and Riley Shintaffer added a three-run shot in the sixth as Hanford battered Shadle Park 13-0 in the 3A regional semifinal at Waits Field.
"I've always been told that to make it to Safeco (and the state championships), you need two studs," Landen said after throwing his first complete game in high school ball, striking out 10 and walking three.
Scheibe, the yearlong ace for the Falcons (12-9), will pitch in today's 1 p.m. regional championship against Mount Spokane (18-3), which beat West Valley 6-0 in the other semifinal.
West Valley (15-9) and Shadle Park (7-14) play a loser-out game at 10 a.m., with the winner playing the loser of the championship game at 4 p.m. for the second berth to state.
Landen, a senior, has gone from a reliable reliever to the team's second starter after an injury took Cody Wagner out of the rotation.
Against Shadle Park, he was consistently ahead in the count, and half of the batters he punched out went down looking thanks to a tricky little slider.
"When you get ahead and throw strikes, you make them swing at your pitch," Landen said, adding that he was determined to get those last three outs -- all of them via strikeout -- to get the complete game.
"I wanted to get it."
Scheibe's slam and Shintaffer's bomb came as the Falcons piled on five runs in each of their final two at-bats. But it was Garrett Jones' little poke to right in the fourth that turned the game in Hanford's favor.
It was still a 1-0 game then, the Falcons having trouble figuring out Shadle starter Nick Bettinson, a big lefty sophomore with a sidearm delivery, the first time through the lineup.
Shintaffer led off the fourth with a double and Scheibe followed with a walk. Both runners moved up, and Jones stepped to the plate with one out and was down 1-2 in the count.
"I love the clutch situations," the senior outfielder said. "And he didn't have anything that could fool me, so I was just looking to take something the other way."
He guided a ball right, a single that scored both runners to finally give the Falcons a little breathing room and Landen some support.
"He's always been solid for three innings every outing," Jones said. "He was impressive going the whole way."