District 1A baseball: Montesano clinches regional berth in rout; Grizzlies eliminated

CASTLE ROCK — One win was all Montesano and Hoquiam needed to secure a place into next Saturday’s regional baseball tournament.

The Bulldogs got theirs, but the Grizzlies were unable to secure theirs.

In the nightcap of a winner-to-regional, loser-out doubleheader at Castle Rock High School, Montesano displayed its full-field prowess to decimate host Castle Rock, 13-1, in five innings. In the opener, Hoquiam got the hits it needed, but they came without runners on base in an 8-2 loss to rival Rochester.

Today at noon, Montesano (22-1) will take on Rochester in a district third-fourth place seeding game at Castle Rock. Hoquiam’s season comes to an end with a 14-7 record.

Bulldogs 13, Rockets 1

Leading 2-0, Montesano ace left-handed pitcher Layne Bruner got out of a jam in the bottom of the second inning with two Rockets in scoring position. However, the drama came when the teams changed for the third inning.

After the final out of the second inning, Castle Rock head coach Joe Bair enthusiastically cheered his players back into the dugout and seemed to aim that enthusiasm at Bruner as he ran off the field. The home plate umpire called Bair over to tell him to cool it and the pair began to argue.

Montesano head coach Mike Bruner walked over to the discussion as he headed to the third-base coach’s box and exchanged words with Bair with the umpires separating the two. Both coaches walked back to their places and the Bulldogs continued the fireworks in the third inning.

Sending 13 batters to the plate, Montesano capitalized on its hot hitting, plus some untimely Castle Rock errors, to score eight runs in the frame and take a 10-0 lead.

“We’re both competing for a spot into a regional state berth and there are some lines you just don’t cross,” coach Bruner said. “A coach trying to get into a kid’s head, yelling stuff to him. I just think there are lines you just don’t cross. The kids talking is one thing, but I didn’t appreciate it.

“We came out ready to compete, but right there (in the third inning), we were at a crossroads,” Bruner added. “It was whether we’d let that distract us and do what happened to us on Tuesday (in a loss to Woodland) or we were going to keep the wheels on and use that as a motivator. I think the guys responded well, kept the wheels on and it made them compete even harder.”

Tucker Ibabao, who came in to pitch in relief of Layne Bruner in the fourth inning, had two of the Bulldogs’ three hits in the inning, including a two-run single to cap the scoring. Matt Jensen also hit an RBI single, while Shad Rogers, Kody Usher and Richard Smith got one RBI each as well.

Three of Castle Rock’s six errors in the game came in the third inning.

Bruner threw three innings and only needed 42 pitches to get through his work. The senior finished with five strikeouts and one walk and will be available today against Rochester.

Ibabao came in with a 12-0 lead after 3 1/2 innings and finished with two innings of relief — two strikeouts and one earned run given up in the fifth inning. He finished with three hits, including a first-inning double, to lead the Bulldogs at the plate.

“Layne was on a short leash anyway, pitching on two days rest,” Bruner said. “Tucker came in and did a great job. It is always tough to come from behind the plate to pitch and I thought he did a good job. Now we have to come out tomorrow and get another one here.”

Warriors 8, Grizzlies 2

Timing is everything. Hoquiam’s hitters didn’t have it on this day, while Rochester’s did.

With at least one hit in the first six innings, the Grizzlies put runners on base and pressure on the Warriors. However, Rochester ace Dustin Wilson pitched his way out of those jams and got support from his team at the plate.

“We fell short,” HHS head coach Steve Jump said. “We couldn’t put anything together. Today, Rochester put it together and we didn’t. I thought their pitcher did a fantastic job. That’s why baseball is a crazy game, what you’ll get from one day to the next.”

Hoquiam struck first when an infield throwing error on a pick-off play at first base allowed Blake Kelly to score the opening run. The Grizzlies stranded Josh Steen at third base with no outs.

Castle Rock’s patience at the plate was tested by Hoquiam starter Kyle Standstipher, who was a bit wild with his control. The patience paid off in the third inning — a two-run infield throwing error and a run scoring on a passed ball — for a 3-1 lead.

The Grizzlies responded with back-to-back hits in the fourth inning — a single and an error put Joel Brydon at second base and Josh Bishop traded places with Brydon with an RBI double. Bishop moved to third with no outs on a passed ball and was left stranded.

It would be Hoquiam’s last threat of the contest. Wilson pitched to contact, gave up just two more hits in the final three innings and got his insurance runs in the fifth inning.

Against relief pitcher Tristan Stutesman, the Rockets plated five runs in the fifth to seal the game. Seven of Castle Rock’s 11 hits in the game came in the frame, five of them off Stutesman who was replaced by Brydon on the mound.

“Overall, we were 14-7 and this was a great group to coach,” Jump said. “They’re should be proud of themselves. They’re a great group to work with.”

Hoq 100 100 0 — 2 8 1 Roch 003 050 x — 8 11 3

Standstipher, Stutesman (4), Brydon (5) and Bishop; Wilson and Deal.

RBI: Hoquiam — Bishop. Rochester — Fosnacht, Angwood, Wilson, Singer, Ranger. Three hits: Rochester — Angwood. Two hits: Hoquiam — Steen. Rochester — Eastman, Deal. Doubles: Hoquiam — Bishop, Kelly. Rochester — Eastman.

Winning pitcher — Wilson (six strikeouts). Losing pitcher — Standstipher (seven strikeouts, seven walks).

Monte 208 21 — 13 9 0 CR 000 01 — 1 6 6

Bruner, Ibabao (4) and Ibabao, Bussard (4); Williamson, Rasmussen (4), Horton (5) and Voelker.

RBI: Montesano — Rogers, Nelson, Ibabao 2, Bruner, Usher, Jensen, Nussbaum, Smith. Castle Rock — Voelker. Three hits: Montesano — Ibabao. Two hits: Montesano — Jensen. Castle Rock — Williamson, Voelker, Grothen. Doubles: Montesano — Ibabao. Castle Rock — Voelker.

Winning pitcher — Bruner (five strikeouts, one walk). Losing pitcher — Williamson (four walks).