There’s so much anticipation between these two Central Washington Athletic Conference rivals. One is aiming for its fifth straight district title, and the other is eyeing a third consecutive 2A State Championship.

Ellensburg High School and Selah High School baseball teams squared off Saturday at Rotary Park for the first time this season.

Over the last two seasons, these teams have split the conference double header, and it typically decides who will take home the CWAC league title. These matchups are crucial later on even though its early in the year.

Selah got the best of Ellensburg in both contests. It drubbed the Bulldogs 11-2 in game one, and then 6-0 in game two.

“Every time we play Selah it’s like everybody is in each other’s heads,” said EHS center fielder Riley Seed. “Just over think everything. Definitely saw that. Just have to treat it like another game.”

Ellensburg (3-4, 0-2 CWAC) lost seven seniors last year, so the Bulldogs are still trying to fill those voids — especially in the middle infield.

Offensively, the Bulldogs were limited to 10 hits total — five in each game. The bottom half of the order (5-9) tallied just four.

“We just have a lot of growing to do,” said head coach Todd Gibson. “Our older guys have to produce, but the gap between the kids who have been there and then the kids who are supposed to fill in just isn’t there yet. And that’s OK because it’s March. That’s why they’re (Selah) ahead of us. Their kids that have filled in are a little bit ahead of us.”

Tyler Polacek was handed the ball for the 11 a.m. game and gave up five runs (two earned). The two earned runs were in the first inning. Selah’s Dylan Bishop slapped one to right field for a base hit and then Carter Young, a Vanderbilt commit, tagged one off the left field wall to score one. Payton Andreas followed with single up the middle to take a 2-0 lead.

From there, the rest of the runs were unearned. Polacek quietly dazzled through innings two and three, but in the fourth and fifth, errors on defense cost the Bulldogs.

Polacek got the first two men out with a strikeout and a fly out to right field in the fourth, but ensued to yield back-to-back singles. An error at short loaded them up and Selah (7-0, 3-0 CWAC) brought in the man on third with a base hit to center, 3-0.

Two more slip-ups on the infield defense along with a couple base hits had Selah up 5-0. Hunter Gibson entered to pitch in the sixth and Selah scored six runs in the final two innings.

With Brady Helgeson on the mound in game two, it takes him out of the shortstop position. Todd said that in the last few seasons when one of the middle infield players threw, there was plenty of depth to put a Bulldog in that vacancy.

Damon McLaughlin played short and had much ado. But Todd is confident these kinks will be worked out as the year progresses.

Ellensburg committed 10 errors on the day.

“Our biggest concern coming into it is what are we going to do with our infield — especially our middle infield, Gibson said. “Because we felt pretty good about Brady going there and then Damon had a rough time fielding ground balls. Second game could have been a little bit different, so he’s just got to get more time there and more game reps. It didn’t help that we didn’t get outside in time to do that stuff.”

Selah led 1-0 after the second inning. With one out and Young at the plate, he knocked a single to right – but it went by Dillon Young and Carter was able to make it all the way around to score two runs. Selah pushed its advantage to 6-0 in the fifth, highlighted by a two-run single from Andreas.

Andreas flung six shut-out innings for Selah. He faced two batters in the seventh before being replaced.

Davis Spencer came in for Helgeson in the fifth inning with one out and two runners on. Both runners were brought in and credited to Helgeson. He allowed five runs (two earned) in his outing.

“Just come to practice next week and work on getting better,” Seed said.

Jadon Bugni had two doubles on the day — both in the first game with one RBI. Helgeson notched three hits with one RBI.

Ellensburg will face Grandview High School at home on Tuesday for a 4:30 p.m. start.


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