Grays Harbor falls in final state Babe Ruth 14s pool-play game; bracket play begins today

Today’s Games: (Single-elimination games) 10 a.m. — Grays Harbor vs. Longview; 1 p.m. — Kennewick vs. Richland; 4 p.m. — Kelso-Woodland-Ridgefield-LaCenter vs. Grays Harbor/Longview winner; 7 p.m. — Twin Cities vs. Kennewick/Richland winner.

It wasn’t the result it wanted, but it is the result they can live with if it means a Northwest Regional berth after tonight.

Host Grays Harbor went toe-to-toe with Twin Cities in the final game of Thursday’s pool-play games, but suffered a seven-run setback in the fifth inning en route to a 14-6 loss in the Southern Washington Babe Ruth 14-year-old baseball tournament at Olympic Stadium in Hoquiam.

At 10 a.m., Grays Harbor will take on Longview in the first loser-out bracket game of the day. Longview needed a 6-5 win over Thurston County and help via tiebreakers to advance. The winner of the game will take on Kelso-Woodland-Ridgefield-LaCenter in a winner-to-state title game, loser-out contest at 4 p.m.

If Twin Cities, which is hosting the Northwest Regional tournament, reaches the state title game, the 4 p.m. game winner will automatically earn a regional berth. Twin Cities will play for a state-title game berth at 7 p.m. against either Kennewick or Richland.

Twin Cities 14, Grays Harbor 6

A two-run first inning, aided by two Twin Cities errors, allowed the hosts to get a foot up in this pool-play finalè. However, the Twins chipped back to tie the game and took the lead for good in the fourth inning.

Trailing 4-2, the Twins got back-to-back doubles to open the fourth — Austin Emery and Tyson Paul — for a 4-3 score. Following a sacrifice bunt, the Twin Cities pushed four more runs across on the benefit of one hit.

Drew Forgione’s RBI bunt single got one run home, then he got into a rundown to allow a second run to come home for a 5-4 lead. A wild pitch plated another run, then a throw back to second base to get the runner gave the Twins another run for a 7-4 score.

Grays Harbor got one run back on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth, but couldn’t hold back the tide in the bottom of the frame. A seven-run inning for the Twins, highlighted by three runs scored on bases loaded walks, sealed the contest at 14-5.

An RBI single by reserve C.J. Oldham ended the scoring in the sixth. The hosts went through four pitchers in the game, but Grays Harbor kept all of its aces off the mound to throw today. Starter Jarrod Steen took the loss in 3 2/3 of work.

Paul, the Twin Cities’ starting pitcher, got the win and helped his cause with two hits — an RBI double and an RBI triple — at the plate. Tyson Guerrero and Nole Wollan each added two hits and two RBI and Austin Emery added two hits, including a double, and an RBI.

Skylar Jump led Grays Harbor with two hits and an RBI.

KWRL 7, Kennewick 6

Kennewick led 6-1 after four innings and appeared to be on their way to handing KWRL its first loss of the tournament. KWRL, backed by a solid relief pitching performance by Drake Estes, rallied to score six unanswered runs to finish pool play undefeated in three games.

In the fifth, a two-out, two-run single by Kevin Miser and a follow up RBI single by Max Smith brought KWRL to within one, 6-5. Another two-out rally in the sixth, an infield error, tied the game at 6-6.

In the seventh, KWRL opened with back-to-back singles and a passed ball got runner to second and third base with no outs. After a pop-up out, pitch hitter Brett Judd hit a grounder to Kennewick shortstop Hunter Spiva. With third-base runner Estes running home, Spiva threw to first for the out and Estes scored the walk-off run without a play.

Estes earned the win on the mound after taking over for starter Miser in the third inning, down 6-1. Kennewick got four in the second inning, braced by single-run frames in the first and third. Estes scattered three hits in the final four innings of the contest.

Miser led KWRL at the plate with two hits and two RBI. Andrew Guilliam led Kennewick with three hits and two RBI.

Longview 6, Thurston Co. 5

For the first four innings, Thurston County held onto a slim 2-0 lead and a no-hitter on Longview. The final three innings saw Longview rally twice to take the lead and the win to clinch the No. 3 seed out of the National Division.

Matthew Mickelson held a no-hitter through four innings for Thurston County, but a single to left-center field from Nate Duscha broke up the string in the fifth. A four-run fifth inning, aided by three Thurston County errors, pushed Longview into a 4-2 lead.

Thurston County tied the game in the bottom of the fifth with two runs before Longview grabbed the game for good with a two-run sixth inning. RBI singles by Nate Duscha and Connor Strange pushed into the go-ahead runs in the sixth. Dennis O’Brien’s RBI single and Dawson St. Jean’s RBI double were the run-scoring hits in the fifth.

A throwing error in the sixth gave Thurston County its final run of the game. Longview’s Levi Atkins came in in the seventh for the three-out save.

Dawson St. Jean, in relief of his brother, Devin, earned the win, striking out two and walking two.

Longview, Thurston County and Kennewick finished with identical 1-2 record. By tiebreakers, Thurston County was eliminated by giving up more runs than the other two teams. Kennewick earned the No. 2 seed with a head-to-head win over Longview earlier in the tournament.

Richland 15, Kelso 4 (6 inn)

Richland broke out with its first runs of the tournament and never trailed to earn the No. 3 seed out of the American Division.

Both teams entered the game with 0-2 records and needed a win to advance into Friday’s bracket games.

Ray Eichton slugged three hits, including a double, and three RBI to lead Richland, which produced runs in five of the six innings. Brad Poletski added two hits and two RBI and was the winning pitcher, striking out four.

Kelso’s Brandon Williams had three hits, including a triple, for Kelso.

GH 202 011 0 — 6 10 1

TC 110 570 x — 14 12 3

Steen, Bennett (4), Larson (5), Legg (5) and Skinner; Paul, Cleary (5) and Peters.

Long 000 042 0 — 6 6 5

Thu 200 021 0 — 5 7 3

De. St. Jean, Daw. St. Jean (5), Atkins (7) and Seybert; Mickelson, Smistad (6), Wells (6), Miller (7) and Richmond.

Kenn 141 000 0 — 6 8 3

KWRL 010 041 1 — 7 8 1

Schwartz, Wagner (5), Jacobson (5), Guilliam (7) and Jackson; Miser, Estes (3) and Block.

Rich 341 034 — 15 13 2

Kel 003 100 — 4 9 6

Poletski, Eichton (6) and Briones, Poletski (6); Quintano, Walker (5) and Williams.