Aberdeen’s march to the postseason got a few steps closer in the rain on Friday afternoon.
Aberdeen and Black Hills played through a bit of a rain storm at Ken Waite Field, with the Bobcats scoring four times in the fifth inning to secure a 6-1 Evergreen 2A baseball win over the Wolves.
The Bobcats (10-6, 11-6) sit comfortably in third place in the league standings with two games left on their schedule — today at fourth-place North Thurston and at league-leading Chehalis next week.
“We have to take care of business,” AHS head coach William Rabung said. “(Today’s) game is huge in the scope of things. If we can take care of business (today) and things roll out right, we can get second place. However, you can’t put the cart in front of the horse. They have to play (today) and win.”
It was a stereotypical Aberdeen victory on Friday, complete with a solid pitching performance, strong defense and timely hitting for a big inning to secure the lead.
Senior Zach Larsen took care of the pitching. The right-hander struck out six and walked three, while scattering two hits against the Wolves. The only time the visitors threatened came in the third inning — Drew Devoe parlayed a leadoff walk with two infield throwing errors and a passed ball to score Black Hills’ lone run.
Other than the hiccup in the third, the Bobcat defense swallowed up just about everything offered by the Wolves’ batters. The only strong hit came on Adam Meyer’s double in the fourth and Josh Bown added a bloop single in the sixth.
“We did everything we needed to do — we got good pitching, good defense that made the pitching better and we made the adjustments at the plate to change the tempo of the game,” Rabung said. “You can’t ask for anything more than that.”
At the plate, Aberdeen strung together hits in the second and fifth innings off Black Hills’ starter Kalvin Hargraves and reliever Austin Heylard.
Reilly Fairchild’s RBI single and Devan Harke’s sacrifice fly gave the hosts a 2-0 lead. The Bobcats chased Hargraves in the fifth before Hunter Larson stroked a two-run double to right field. Two more runs came across when Larsen scored on a wild pitch from third base and Larson, who kept on running, forced an infield error to plate the final run of the game.
A few baserunning mistakes scattered throughout the contest ended a few threats, but didn’t hurt the Bobcat cause.
Rabung cited second baseman Devin Daniels, who was fighting off the flu, for his overall efforts in the contest.
In the junior varsity game, Aberdeen won, 8-2.
BH 001 000 0 — 1 2 1 Abe 020 040 x — 6 6 2
Hargraves, Heylard (5) and O’Bannon; Larsen and Williamson.
RBI: Aberdeen — Larson 2, Fairchild, Harke. Doubles: Black Hills — Meyer. Aberdeen — Dietrich, Larson, Williamson.
Winning pitcher — Larsen (six strikeouts, three walks). Losing pitcher — Hargraves (one strikeout, two walks).