Throughout the season, base hits in clutch situations have been tough to come by for Aberdeen. That trend did not change for the Bobcats on Friday.
Aberdeen failed to convert on three bases-loaded opportunities, two of those with just one out, and lost to the Chehalis Bearcats, 2-1, in an Evergreen 2A Conference baseball game at Pioneer Park’s Ken Waite Field.
The win locked up the league title for Chehalis. Coupled with Tumwater’s 9-8 win over River Ridge, the loss left Aberdeen (12-5 in league, 12-6 overall) needing a win in its season finalé to stay in the second spot.
With his team already up 1-0, Alex Cox led off the second inning for Chehalis (15-2) with a line-drive single into left field. Cox advanced to third on grounders by Mike Forgione and Brad Downs and scored on Elijah Johnson’s bloop single to left field.
Collin Nord walked to lead off the bottom half of the second inning for the Bobcats. Reilly Fairchild followed with a soft line drive just over the glove of Bearcat second baseman Toby Johnson for a single. Two batters later, Devan Harke walked to load the bases with one out.
Chase Johnson hit a sharp grounder to Bearcat pitcher Kaylen Steen, who threw home to Tanner Gueller. Gueller touched the plate and threw to Brady Calkins at first to complete an inning-ending double play.
Steen walked Charlie Dietrich, Cole Edwards and Ashton Williamson consecutively in the third to load the bases once again with just one out. Steen managed to regain his control and struck out Nord and Fairchild to get out of the jam.
Down 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Aberdeen once again found itself with a scoring opportunity. Harke and Caleb Harris walked, then Stuart Ball singled to left field for the second time to load the bases. However, Dietrich grounded to short to end the inning.
“We froze up in key situations,” Schreiber said. “With the exception of a 4-1 loss to Tumwater, our whole season has been one-run losses. Somebody’s got to step up. We’ve just got to find a way to do it. We had chances to blow this thing wide open many times. It’s a fight for us. Now we have to go out there and win our last game against Capital on Senior Night. That’s our whole focus now”
The Bobcats scored their only run in the fourth inning. Harke lined a single to left field, then stole second base. Two batters later, Ball hit a single down the left-field line, scoring Harke. Ball was the only player on either team to record two hits.
Fairchild finished strong after a rough start on the mound. The senior pitched a complete game and allowed only one of Chehalis’ seven hits in the final three innings.
Aberdeen will close out league play Tuesday at home against Capital.
Che 110 000 0 — 2 7 0 Aber 000 100 0 — 1 5 2
Steen, Painter (6) and Gueller, Steen (6); Fairchild and Williamson.
RBI: Chehalis — Calkins, E Johnson; Aberdeen – Ball. Two hits: Aberdeen— Ball. Doubles: Chehalis — Gueller. Aberdeen – Williamson.
Winning pitcher — Steen (walked six; struck out five). Losing pitcher — Fairchild (walked none; struck out two).