CASTLE ROCK — Montesano’s response to its only baseball loss could scarcely have been more emphatic.
Routing an opponent via the 10-run mercy rule for the second time in as many days, the Bulldogs claimed third place in the District IV Class 1A Tournament by drubbing Rochester, 13-3, on Saturday at Castle Rock.
Kody Usher drove in five runs with a home run and triple to spark Saturday’s triumph. Already assured of advancing, the Bulldogs (23-1) will return to Castle Rock for regional competition next Saturday. Rochester must make the long trek to Anacortes for another regional.
The state’s top-ranked 1A team, Montesano suffered its first loss when it dropped a 3-2 decision to Woodland in the district semifinals Tuesday.
The Bulldogs rebounded by thumping Castle Rock and Rochester over the weekend by a combined 26-4 count. Both contests ended in five innings via the 10-run mercy rule.
“I think it kind of got our guys a little better focused,” Bulldog coach Mike Bruner said of the Woodland loss.
Usher opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the second and concluded Monte’s output with a bases-loaded triple in the fifth.
“He’s been working on things in the (batting) cage,” Bruner said. “It all came together today.”
Eight of the nine Bulldogs in the batting order scored at least once. The exception, winning pitcher Tucker Ibabao, helped his own cause with two hits and two RBIs.
Montesano scored in every inning but the first.
After Layne Bruner singled with one out in the second, Usher launched a Dominic Angwood pitch over the left-field fence. Ibabao’s double scored Shad Rogers, who had singled, in the third to make it 3-0.
The Bulldogs then batted around in a four-run fourth that included singles by Matt Jensen and Ibabao, Zack Nelson’s sacrifice fly, three walks, a hit batter and an error.
Usher’s bases-clearing triple to left-center in the fifth capped a six-run fifth that also included singles by Nelson and Kenny Roy. Three walks and a dropped third strike contributed to the outburst.
Ibabao scattered seven hits in picking up the victory. The senior right-hander faced jams in every inning but the first, but minimized the damage.
Rochester came up empty despite putting its first two batters aboard in the second and mustered only one run out of a bases-loaded, none-out situation in the third.
Down to their final strike on two different occasions, the Warriors strung together two-out singles by Dakota Deal, Jayson Dickerson and Wyatt Singer to score once and load the bases in the fifth. Ibabao then closed it out by retiring Jordan Colombo on a fly to right fielder Richard Smith.
Jensen made a pair of nice defensive plays at third base and started an inning-ending double play in the second.
Mon 021 46 — 13 9 2 Roch 001 1 1 — 3 7 1
Ibabao and Bussard; Angwood, Urvina (4), Rogers (5) and Deal.
RBI: Montesano — Usher 5, Nelson 2, Ibabao 2, Mendenhall. Rochester — Eastman, Deal, Colombo. Two hits: Montesano — Ibabao, Usher. Rochester — Singer. Home runs: Montesano — Usher. Triples: Montesano — Usher. Doubles: Montesano — Ibabao. Rochester — Eastman.
Winning pitcher — Ibabao (walked two; struck out one). Losing pitcher — Angwood (walked four; struck out two).