Freeman’s pursuit of its first 1A state baseball championship has come down to two games in Yakima.
The Scotties (20-4) took down Zillah 4-1 and beat Connell 9-5 last week to earn the chance to prepare for the today’s semifinal matchup against Hoquiam, which squeaked out one-run wins last weekend over Klahowya and Montesano.
The winner of the today’s 1 p.m. game takes on either Cashmere or South Whidbey on Saturday at 4 p.m. at County Stadium in Yakima. The losers play Saturday at 10 a.m.
“Almost every single one of my guys have played summer ball for me. They have gone 89-24 over two summer and school-ball seasons,” coach Chad Ripke said. “They’ve had a good run here. They want some more. They are hungry to try to bring home the first state championship in Freeman history for baseball.”
Ripke will turn to sophomore fireballer McKabe Cottrell, who has an ERA under 1.00, and threw 13 strikeouts in the 4-1 win over Zillah.
If the Scotties find a way to beat Hoquiam, they could face the same Cashmere team that trounced Colville 12-3 last week and beat Freeman 7-1 earlier in the season.
“They have a great program,” Ripke said of Cashmere. “They have won three state championships. They are a program that we model ourselves after.”
Senior Jake Phipps pitched against Cashmere in the losses in 2014 and earlier this year. He’d be the pitcher if the Scotties advance.
“We’d relish the chance to get another chance at them,” Ripke said. “Hopefully it will come in the state championship game.”
If Freeman finds a way to win it all, the title would give outfielder Preston Hoppman his third state championship three different sports. He played quarterback on Freeman’s football title in 2013 and placed at state for the 2015 championship wrestling team.
“That would be unprecedented, definitely here,” Ripke said. “There are not many people who can say they won three rings … in the matter of 18 or 20 months and have an integral part in all three.”
For Ripke, it would be his second state title this year after coaching the wrestling team to its win.
“For myself to win back to back sport seasons, that would be a dream come true,” he said.
Regardless of how the weekend goes, it could be just the start. With Cottrell and freshman Desmond Parisotto (.417 batting average to lead the team), the Scotties could could be building something.
“This could be something that goes on a few years,” Ripke said. “This could be the beginning of a long run.”
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