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1A state baseball: Seton Catholic watches its 13-game win streak, season end with gut-wrenching 1-0 loss to Meridian

Two errors, controversial play at home plate sting as Kolten Gesser throws one-hitter

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: May 18, 2024, 7:07pm
3 Photos
Seton Catholic sophomore Kolten Gesser delivers a pitch against Meridian in a 1A state quarterfinal baseball game at Camas High School on Saturday, May 18, 2024.
Seton Catholic sophomore Kolten Gesser delivers a pitch against Meridian in a 1A state quarterfinal baseball game at Camas High School on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

CAMAS — The future is extremely bright for the Seton Catholic baseball team.

But that couldn’t keep the tears from flowing following the Cougars’ gut-wrenching defeat on Saturday.

“I’m kind of at a loss for words right now because I’m so proud of these guys,” Seton Catholic coach Ted Wieczorek said. “They’ve come so far. And every one of their coaches cried, and so did they.”

Two errors led to the game’s only run and the Cougars had their best scoring chances erased on a controversial play at the plate as Seton fell to Meridian of Bellingham 1-0 in a 1A state quarterfinal at Camas High School.

The game quickly shaped up to be a pitchers’ duel between Seton’s Kolten Gesser and Meridian lefthander Jonah Aase. Gesser held Meridian hitless for the first three innings, while Aase set down the first eight Cougars he faced.

Gesser got Seton’s first hit with two out in the third, and Teddy Wieczorek followed with a double to right. A walk loaded the bases, but Aase got out of the jam with a strikeout.

The game would turn in the fourth.

Silas Berschauer got Meridian’s first hit on a clean single to left and took second base when the ball was misplayed in the outfield.

Then an infield ground resulted in a throwing error to first, allowing Berschauer to score the game’s only run.

“They knew if they got one run, they stood a good chance of winning,” Coach Wieczorek said. “That’s how confident they were in (Aase). We had two miscues that cost us, and that was the difference in the game.”

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It briefly looked like Seton would quickly get that run back in the bottom of the fourth after singles by Thomas Clute and Dalton Woods put runners on first and second with two out.

Then Jack Williams lined a single to right, sending Clute to the plate. But a strong throw from right field Tristan Wang allowed catcher Ian Forbes to tag Clute out on a close play.

Ted Wieczorek argued vehemently that Forbes was standing in the baseline and should have been called for interference. The call stood.

“We had our chances,” the coach said. “That play at the plate was unfortunate. I see things differently than the umpire did because I also umpire.”

From there, Aase set down the next eight Cougars in a row before a walk and a balk put the tying run on second in the bottom of the seventh.

Then Aase sealed the win with his 15th strikeout.

“We faced a really good arm,” Ted Wieczorek said. “We knew we’d probably see him today. We came out and we competed. We pushed the envelope a little bit, but you have to tip your hats to those guys. That’s a good arm out there.”

Seton also had a good arm on the mound, as Gesser threw a one-hitter with six strikeouts. He did walk three batters and hit two more.

In fact, the Cougars only allowed one run in their last four postseason games.

The Cougars played a near-perfect game in the first game Saturday, a 10-0 win over Vashon Island in six innings.

Jack Williams gave up just two hits in six innings, Teddy Wieczorek dazzled with his defense at shortstop and the Seton offense put runs on the board in five of six innings as eight different players recorded a hit.

It was the kind of baseball that propelled the Cougars to a 13-game winning streak after a loss to La Center on April 12.

It put the Cougars on the doorstep of their first trip to the state semifinals as a stand-alone program.

It’s a far cry from March 2021 when the program was launched with many of this season’s juniors played as eighth graders.

And the 2024 Cougars graduate only one senior.

“We’re a young team,” Ted Wieczorek said. “We have most everyone coming back next year. This has been the process for the last four years, and it’s coming together. It’s no longer a secret of who we are, and that’s a blessing and a curse.

“All of those eighth-graders four years ago are now juniors. This is their fourth year of varsity baseball. And I’m proud of every one of them. It’s been an honor to coach them.”