Bobcat singles tame Tigers

A steady barrage of singles kept Aberdeen in the Evergreen 2A Conference baseball title race.

The Bobcats bunched four of their 11 one-baggers into a three-run sixth inning that produced a 7-4 victory over Centralia on Thursday at Pioneer Park’s Ken Waite.

Aberdeen (12-4, 12-5) began the day in second place in the conference, two games back of pace-setting Chehalis. The Bobcats will host the Bearcats today before closing out league play Tuesday at home against Capital.

Seven Bobcats contributed to the 11-hit attack. Ashton Williamson led the attack with three singles and, appropriately, knocked in the go-ahead run.

With the game tied at 4-all, Charlie Dietrich was hit by a Ty Housden pitch to open the Aberdeen sixth and advanced to second on Cole Edwards’ well-executed bunt.

Williamson then lashed a single to right field to put the Bobcats ahead to stay.

Collin Nord was credited with an infield hit when the Tigers left first base uncovered on a chopper to the right side. A late, errant throw on the play put runners on second and third.

Reilly Fairchild and Caleb Harris followed with consecutive RBI singles to close out the scoring.

Nord finished with two scoreless innings on the mound to nail down the win. The brawny southpaw wasn’t at his sharpest, allowing at least one hit in every inning as Centralia (8-8 in league) did a good job of driving his outside pitches to the opposite field.

But Nord wriggled out of a bases-loaded predicament in the fifth and picked a runner off second to quash a Tiger threat in the sixth.

Centralia’s Chuck McKeever delivered his third hit of the contest by singling to left with one out in the seventh. Nord, however, handled the final two chances himself by gloving John Sharkey’s infield fly and Zach Wood’s one-hopper back to the mound.

“He battled,” Bobcat coach Shon Schreiber said of his senior pitcher. “Collin’s biggest thing is he wants to throw hard. We’ve been working on him locating his pitches. If he locates his pitches like the last two innings, we’ll be good going into the playoffs.”

Schreiber was happy with the production of the lower part of his batting order, particularly Harris and Devan Harke in the sixth and seventh spots.

Harke produced perhaps the season’s definitive quality at-bat in the third inning. After falling behind 0-2, Harke worked the count full and fouled off five two-strike pitches before ripping a two-run single to left-center that gave the Bobcats a 4-3 lead.

McKeever’s RBI double, which was bobbled momentarily in the outfield, tied it in the fifth.

Playing first base with Nord on the mound, Jordon Logan made some nice defensive plays for the Bobcats.

Cen 030 010 0 — 4 10 3 Aber 103 003 x — 7 11 2

Nord and Williamson; Housden, J. Wood (6) and Blaser.

RBI: Centralia — McKeever, Z. Wood, Neely, Lantau. Aberdeen — Harris 2, Harke 2, Williamson, Fairchild. Three hits: Centralia — McKeever. Aberdeen — Williamson. Two hits: Centralia — Blaser, Neely, Lantau. Aberdeen — Nord, Harris. Doubles: Centralia — McKeever, Sharkey, Neely.

Winning pitcher — Nord (walked two; struck out four). Losing pitcher — Housden (walked four; struck out three).