When it was all over, Inglemoor Vikings baseball head coach Craig Bishop was misty eyed while basking in the glow of jubilation.
Inglemoor registered a 5-0 victory against the Jackson Timberwolves in a Wes-King 4A district playoff game on May 4 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. Bishop, who earned his 100th career victory as the Vikings’ skipper, was visibly emotional minutes following the final out.
“It means a lot,” Bishop said while welling up with tears.
Vikings’ sophomore hurler Kolby Solomon earned the win on the hill, surrendering zero runs while scattering seven hits in six innings of play. Junior pitcher Zach Hedge pitched the final inning for the Vikings. Solomon got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the second by striking out Jackson hitter Case Matter for the final out of the inning. Solomon allowed two consecutive hits in the top of the third but got the next three batters out to escape the inning unscathed.
Solomon said he didn’t feel the pressure despite seeing five total Jackson runners on base in the top of second and top of the third.
“Not at all,” Solomon said when asked about the pressure of the predicament. “I give all the credit to my defense. They (Jackson) put the ball in play and I have a great defense behind me. When we got out of those jams, it felt amazing because everybody was pretty hyped about it.”
The Vikings scored all five of their runs in the bottom of the second. Hedge connected on a three-run home run to left field late in the inning, giving his team a formidable 5-0 lead. Jacob Liedle had an RBI single earlier in the inning. The Vikings also scored a run on a Jackson throwing error.
Bishop said Solomon is a mentally tough customer on the bump.
“We expect that out of him. It means the moment (pressure situations) is not going to beat him. That is his mental toughness. It is just a testament to his ability. He has been that way all year. He has that ability to be tough in the moment regardless of what is going on around him,” Bishop said.
Bishop was glad to see Hedge’s flyball leave the yard in the bottom of the second.
“For him to get that done in that moment was big for us. It was great for Zach to close out the game (pitch the final inning) too. We’re really proud of him. He is a huge part of our team. We want to be more consistent offensively but when the day was over we had one big inning. It was enough,” Bishop said.
Inglemoor will face Cascade in a Wes-King 4A district playoff game at 4 p.m. on May 7 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue.