In the biggest baseball game of the season, Olympia High’s Elliott Loague was ready – despite the bad weather.
Loague and the Bears celebrated the school’s first seven-inning no-hitter since 2008, blanking Bellarmine Prep, 2-0, at Fuchs Field on Friday afternoon.
The win broke a tie atop the Narrows 4A standings, giving the Bears (13-4, 8-1) the inside track over Bellarmine Prep (11-4, 7-2) for their sixth consecutive league crown by sweeping the season series.
Loague (seven strikeouts, 84 pitches in seven innings) emerged the winner in a pitchers’ duel with Lions’ ace Harry Stenberg (three-hitter in seven innings, seven strikeouts, 93 pitches) after Gabe Padukiewicz knocked in both runs on a bloop double to right field in the sixth inning.
Through five innings, both pitchers were cruising, utilizing their breaking ball to set up effective fastballs. Stenberg had walked one batter, and allowed a single to Jake Biscay while Loague had given the Lions nothing.
Olympia put its first runner – Biscay – in scoring position with two outs in the sixth. Leo Valenti walked on four pitches, bringing up Padukiewicz.
And Padukiewicz got enough of Stenberg’s outside slider to send a pop-up into no-man’s land between second baseman Jairus Richards and right fielder Paul Huiras, who collided going for the baseball. Biscay and Valenti scored on the play.
“Off the bat, I kind of knew that was trouble,” Padukiewicz said. “I saw both of them running in … and I was like, ‘This has the ability to be a big play in this game right now.’”
Given a 2-0 lead, Loague pumped a high fastball past Brandon Thompson for the first out of the seventh inning, got Andrew Patubo to pop out to first base for the second out – and closed the game out by striking out George Foley on another fastball.
Ever had a no-hitter before? Loague smiled.
“I threw one on ‘C’ team and one on (junior varsity),” said Loague, who had a perfect game ruined on an infield error in the sixth inning. “I had to get one at the highest level.”