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Rebels keep season alive with shutout of Bellevue in 3A KingCo tournament | Prep baseball
Andy Cosgrove ripped the glove from his hand and fired it at the wall of teammates rushing toward him from the dugout, pumping both fists and exclaiming a Rebel yell of worthy of the feat he and his Juanita teammates had just completed.
The Rebels beat Bellevue, 1-0, during the second loser-out game of the day at Bannerwood Park May 14, keeping its season alive and sending the regular season champions packing behind a combined shutout from Cosgrove and starting pitcher Adam Miller.
"Every game in this tournament has been close, has been a pitcher's game," head coach Mark Peterson said. "I told them we just had to keep battling."
The next battle comes at 12 p.m. Saturday at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center, against the fourth place finisher from the Metro League, for the district's final state tournament berth.
Miller and Cosgrove made sure the KingCo tournament's final game held to form, holding the Wolverines to only five base hits and working out of a handful of potentially game-turning jams.
Bellevue moved its leadoff man to third base in the top of the first, before Miller induced a fly ball to end the inning. The Wolverines had two runners on base when the Juanita defense answered the call, throwing out a runner at the plate when he tried to take home on a fielder's choice for an inning ending double play.
But the most pressing threat came in the bottom of the sixth, when Cosgrove loaded the bases with no one out, prompting a visit from Peterson.
Three strikeouts later, the Rebels were back in the dugout celebrating.
"He can play anywhere on the field and be great," Peterson said of Cosgrove, who began the game behind the plate. "I'll take him any day of the week."
Bellevue put the lead-off man on base again in the seventh, but again Cosgrove worked his way off the hook, keeping alive his team's hopes of advancing to the state baseball tournament for the first time in 15 years.
"I know I have the best team behind me," he said. "We don't want to go home yet."
After a down period on the diamond, the Rebels appear to have turned a corner under Peterson, himself an alum. Bellevue coach Pete Wilkinson, a longtime baseball instructor and coach in the area and with collegiate programs around the country and also in his third year in 3A KingCo, said the win was long due for a program he sees as an up-and-comer in the league.
"It's tremendous what he's doing," Wilkinson said. "He and his team absolutely deserved what they got tonight."
Peterson said he hopes the shot at a state tournament game, and the legacy left behind from more than a dozen seniors, will have a lasting impression on the program and entire student body.
"We had a lot of pride," he said of his own prep days as a Rebel. "I'm trying to instill that back in the school. It brings everyone up."
Cosgrove echoed that sentiment, and said the opportunity of reaching the state tournament is not lost on a group that considers themselves a family.
"He's the best coach I could possibly have," he said. "We all love him a lot and when he comes out here and says, 'Rebel Pride,' and breaks it out, we know it is real."