Bonney Lake’s Michael Gretler might get fooled in one or two at-bats, but with the game on the line, the South Puget Sound League 3A’s most dangerous hitter usually pulls through.
Down to their final out, the Panthers needed a run in the seventh inning – and got it when Gretler drove Timberline reliever Matt Mercer’s pitch through the hole on the left side to tie the game.
And Bonney Lake took it from there, winning 4-3 in nine innings in a loser-out Class 3A West Central District tournament game at Heidelberg Field in Tacoma on Tuesday night.
But the Panthers’ fate – and season – came down to a seventh-inning showdown between standouts Gretler and Mercer. With Timberline up 3-2 and a runner on, Mercer relieved starting pitcher Cobi Beal and struck out Moran for the second out of the seventh inning. Up came Gretler with a runner in scoring position. On a 1-1 count, Mercer threw Gretler a wipe-out curve that buckled the Bonney Lake junior’s knees. He was suddenly down to his final strike. On the next pitch, Mercer tried going up high on a big fastball. Gretler did not flinch, and took it for a ball. On a 2-2 pitch, Mercer tried something off-speed – andGretler was right on it, sending a hit past the shortstop, scoring Grant Townsend with the tying run.