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Mavs sweep West Valley, split Big 9 title with Eastmont

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | May 8, 2024 1:30 AM

MOSES LAKE — Friday’s sweep of West Valley (Yakima) locked up a share of the Columbia Basin Big 9 title for Moses Lake, defeating the Rams 5-2 and 5-3 on the road.

“(We had) a couple of great plays and great pitching performances,” Moses Lake head coach Donnie Lindgren said. “We were aggressive on the bases again, we did the little things right, we played good defense. Had a couple of miscues, but overall it was a great defensive performance.”

The Mavs scored all five of their runs in the top of the second inning in Friday’s opening game, as junior Jackson Carlos scored on a passed ball, sophomore Noah Hernandez and senior Willem Jansen both scored on an error and seniors Nolan Betz and Jayce Stuart scored off another Ram error. Even after giving up nine hits, the Moses Lake defense held West Valley to just two runs in the game. 

“Cooper Hancock kept us in the game, and then Cruz Martinez came in and closed the door — he actually closed the door in both games — but they’d get guys on base, and continue to pitch for contact instead of walk guys, and our defense made some really clutch plays. Cruz Martinez, he had the day of his life, in my mind. If there’s a better third baseman out there, I don’t know him.”

In the nightcap, Moses Lake took a 4-0 lead in the top of the third inning with an RBI from freshman Jacoby Fulbright, two bases-loaded walks and Stuart scoring on a wild pitch. Later holding a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, Carlos saved two runs from going on the board with an acrobatic catch for an out in the outfield, a play Lindgren described as “would have been on the SportsCenter Top 10, if not the top play.”

“The second game, we had a couple of miscues that gave them a chance,” Lindgren said. “They were down two and had men on first and second, and the guy hits a shot to center field, (where) Jackson Carlos made an unbelievable play — everyone was in awe of it; their team, our team, the umpire.”

With the wins, Moses Lake and Eastmont both took a share of the CBBN league title this spring, setting up a district title game between the two squads.

“We know they’re a very fundamentally sound team, they’re almost identical to us,” Lindgren said. “They run the bases the right way, they pitch it well. They’re not necessarily overpowering, but they throw strikes, don’t walk guys and they don’t make mistakes in the field. It’s going to come down to the same thing as I always say, ‘The team that has the least amount of mistakes is probably going to win it.’”

The Mavericks will host this weekend’s district championship game due to a 2-1 head-to-head advantage over the Wildcats; Moses Lake beat Eastmont 13-2 on April 2 and 5-3 on April 5, before losing 2-0 in the second game of the April 5 doubleheader.

“It’s always nice to play where you practice, and you’re familiar with everything,” Lindgren said. “You don’t have to get on a bus and travel an hour or anything.”

While the games officially have a postseason tag on them now, Lindgren said he hopes not too much changes; the head coach said the Mavericks have had a playoff mentality for the last several weeks, as they won their final five games of the regular season to earn a share of the CBBN league title.

“The last two or three weeks, I’ve been preparing them and telling them ‘It’s playoff time,’” Lindgren said. “We wanted to win the league, we wanted to host the district championship game, and we fell a couple short at Davis and let one get away at Wenatchee. I told them, ‘Every game is a playoff game,’ we have to be playing our best baseball.”

First pitch between Moses Lake and Eastmont is at 5 p.m. at Larson Playfields. The winner clinches a spot in the 4A State Baseball Tournament, while the loser will play a home loser-out game Saturday at 1 p.m.

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com

Box scores

Game One
MSLK: 0-5-0-0-0-0-0 5
WSTV: 0-0-0-0-0-2-0 2

Game Two
MSLK: 1-0-3-0-0-1-0 5
WSTV: 0-0-0-0-2-1-0 3


    Moses Lake junior Cruz Martinez makes contact with a pitch during the Mavericks’ April 30 win over West Valley (Yakima).