PASCO — After the trophy ceremony, the team photo and much of the on-the-field celebration, Donnie Lundgren took off running around the bases one last time, and his team followed him.
Lindgren slid into home plate head first — “Pete Rose style,” he said — to make good on a promise he made his Moses Lake team.
This time was the last and, undoubtedly, the pinnacle.
Moses Lake staved off a streaking Olympia to win the 4A Washington state baseball championship Saturday night at Gesa Stadium thanks to stable pitching, and defensive playmaking, to make good on a goal many of the Chiefs dreamed about since they started playing together as nine year olds.
“Incredible,” Lindgren said of Moses Lake’s first title since 1981, second in school history. “I mean, these kids have been through a lot with different things in their lives, and baseball, losing last year in the way we did to a great Wenatchee team, and to come back this year and do the things they did, it was magical.”
Olympia’s run at a state title fell short, as the Bears finished second in the state. It started after a fourth place finish in the 4A South Puget Sound League, when the Bears squeaked into the state tournament by finishing sixth at districts.
After beating consensus top-10 teams in Skyline and Federal Way back-to-back in the same day to reach the semifinals, Olympia beat Issaquah 3-2 on a walk-off three RBI double in Friday’s semifinal.
And the Bears were within striking distance until the end on Saturday.
After scoring two runs to pull within two in the top of the fifth inning, Olympia’s Jake Doughty hit a triple and forced Moses Lake to turn to its closer, Vance Alvarado, with two outs.
Alvarado stopped the scoring with a strikeout to close the inning. In the sixth, Olympia’s Michael Came singled to right-center to put runners on first and third with two outs, but Alvarado got out of the jam with a strikeout.
James Spencer laid down a two-RBI bunt, then Dax Lindgren drove in two more with a line drive down the first base line to help Moses Lake build its early 5-1 lead in the second inning.
Dax Lindgren tagged out at second, but not before two more runners score off a line drive down right field line.— Andy Buhler (@AndyBuhler) May 26, 2019
B2 | Moses Lake 5, Olympia 1 pic.twitter.com/EAia7nFxvz
And it was a final strikeout by Alvarado that clinched it in the top of the seventh for Moses Lake, forcing Lindgren to make good on his promise made at the beginning of the season, that right-fielder Josh Williams reminded him of on the team bus Friday night, and round the bases once last time.
“I forgot all about it again, and of course they’re not going to let me forget, because they see a fat old guy running around the bases and do a Pete Rose slide and they have fun with it,” Lindgren said.
For the group of seniors that spent nearly a decade playing together, in a way, preparing for Saturday’s moment, the feat was not lost on them.
“It’s something we’ve been talking about for a long time,” Moses Lake third baseman Dominic Signorelli, a Boise State signee, said. “We were raised like a family.”
(Click on images to enlarge and view slideshow.)
Andy Buhler is a reporter for Scorebook Live Washington. To hear him every week on the Scorebook Live Today podcast, subscribe here. Follow him on Twitter @AndyBuhler and reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.