EPHRATA — It’s been quite a ride to say the least for the Ellensburg High School baseball team.

Maybe this defeat stung a little more because there were high expectations for themselves. Or it was because it was against CWAC rival Selah High School.

But head coach Todd Gibson reminded them — especially the seniors — that this was an incredible run. Back-to-back state championships, a third-place finish and quarterfinals appearance (2019).

“No four-year span has done that,” Gibson said.

The Bulldogs have seen him before, but Selah’s lefty Payton Andreas stymied the Bulldog bats. He allowed no runs, two hits, four walks and struck out seven.

There were opportunities for Ellensburg to make something happen with runners on second and third and one out in the second inning. Tyler Polacek started it with a lead-off walk, Riley Seed moved him over on a bunt, and Davis Spencer took another walk.

But Hunter Gibson and Gavin Gibson went down swinging.

Then in the fourth inning trailing 1-0, Jadon Bugni took a lead-off walk and Polacek hit a soft single to right. But the next three bats went down in order.

“I hate to say anything good about them but just because it’s a rival, it ended a pretty good streak for us,” Todd said. “But when they get you four times, there’s just something we’re not doing — and today it wasn’t hitting.”

Andreas shut out Ellensburg when the teams met for a double header early in the season, tossing six innings of work.

“Little bit of kryptonite that left side — left arm up there, I don’t know,” Todd said. “… We never scored a run off him this year, so that’s kind of been our problem.”

It was a duel out on the mound for the first couple innings with Ellensburg’s Davis Spencer mowing through the Viking offense. He ran into trouble in the fourth inning, giving up his first hits, back-to-back ones from Carter Young and Andreas. A bunt then would load the bases, but Spencer left the inning allowing a mere one run on a sacrifice fly to left field, getting the next two batters on a strikeout and line out.

But in the sixth, Selah pushed its lead to 3-0 as the top half of the order once again gave Spencer issues. Back-to-back doubles from Young and Andreas, then another from Brandon Bruner.

Selah added two more in the final inning.


Ellensburg trailed 2-0 to commence versus River Ridge High School, as Polacek yielded three straight hits — all with two outs. But the rest of the way, Polacek settled down and let the Ellensburg offense back him up.

The Bulldogs got one run in the third inning on a solo shot to right field from Brady Helgeson, and then added four more in the fourth.

Bugni started it off with a hard grounder up the middle and Polacek’s double to the gap put runners in scoring position for Seed, who knocked one in with a single down the left field line. Spencer followed with a RBI single and then later so did Dillon Young with one to left.

With the bases loaded, Damon McLaughlin drew a walk, 5-2.

Two runs were tacked on in the fifth with RBIs from Hunter and Young.

Polacek threw six innings, three runs, one walk and four strikeouts.


Ellensburg graduates seven seniors (Bugni, Polacek, Young, Seed, Helgeson, Ty Morrill and Karson Keaton).

“There’s some talent there, stuff you don’t really develop in four years,” Todd said. “They were just really good baseball players that we got the opportunity to coach. Maybe we taught them a few things, but really it’s just their competitive desire.”

Here are comments from a couple seniors on their time with Ellensburg baseball:

“It was just so much fun,” Helgeson said. “We battled through so much, we won a lot, lots of ups — just amazing.”

Said Bugni, “It’s been a ride since my freshman year, playing for Todd, it’s been so much fun. Getting to where we are today, this senior class, we’ve done things some teams have never done. We’re one of the winningest classes — so proud to be part of that with these guys.”

Said Seed, “It’s been fun, it’s been a grind, but it’s definitely been fun.”


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