CASTLE ROCK — A dramatic comeback lacked only a storybook ending for Hoquiam’s baseball team.
After overcoming an 8-0 deficit, the Grizzlies succumbed to a four-run Tenino eighth inning and fell to the Beavers, 12-8, in the semifinals of the District IV Class 1A Baseball Tournament on Tuesday at Castle Rock.
The Grizzlies (14-6) opened the tourney earlier in the day with a 9-4 win over La Center.
Hoquiam will take on Evergreen 1A rival Rochester in a winner-to-regionals, loser-out contest scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at Castle Rock. The winner will play a regional seeding game Saturday.
Beavers 12, Grizzlies 8
Hoquiam found itself in an 8-0 hole after two innings. But Grizzly reliever Tristan Stutesman restored order by pitching five scoreless innings while his teammates chipped away at the deficit.
The Grizzlies still trailed 8-4 entering the bottom of the seventh. Their first six batters in that inning, however, reached base safely.
They loaded the bases on Ronnie Espedal’s leadoff double, a hit batter and Joel Brydon’s single. After Espedal scored on a wild pitch, Josh Bishop and Drew Bravos stroked consecutive singles to narrow the deficit to one. All hands were safe on Stutesman’s fielder’s choice grounder, with Bishop scoring.
That tied it at 8-8, with the potential winning run on second with none out. Tenino pitcher Kolten McKitrick, however, then struck out the next three batters to force extra inningts.
Doubles by Zack Chamberlain, who lacked only a triple of hitting for the cycle, and Mac Shaw highlighted a four-run Tenino outburst in the top of the eighth. This time the Grizzlies had no answer.
“I’m real proud of how we battled,” Hoquiam coach Steve Jump said. “We were gutsy and didn’t roll over. It was nice that we battled back. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get the win.”
Bravos doubled twice and drove in three runs for the Grizzlies.
Grizzlies 9, Wildcats 4
Kyle Standstipher struck out 14, while Brydon drove in three runs for Hoquiam.
Hoquiam took command by scoring three runs apiece in the first two innings. The three-run first featured two-out hits by Espedal, Jake Guined, Brydon and Bravos. The last two runs scored on an error and passed ball, respectively.
Standstipher survived a rocky fifth inning to go the distance on the mound.
“We rode his pitching the rest of the game and supported him with solid hitting,” Jump said. “Kyle’s pitching better and better every game.”
LAC 000 040 0 — 4 10 3 Hoq 331 101 x — 9 14 1
Block, Beirschied (3) and Hancuff; Kyle Standstipher and Espedal.
RBI: LC — Doiron, Hancuff, Soske. Hoquiam — Brydon 3, Kelly. Three hits: LC — Soske. Hoquiam — Brydon. Two hits: LC — Hancuff, Doiron. Hoquiam — Kelly, Espedal, Guined, Bravos, Skinner. Doubles: LC — Vantol, Doiron. Hoquiam — Skinner, Bishop, Brydon.
Winning pitcher — Kyle Standstipher (walked three; struck out 14). Losing pitcher — Block (walked two; struck out three).
Ten 440 000 04 — 12 15 1 Hoq 000 022 40 — 8 13 2
Zeb Chamberlain, Conklin (4), McKitrick (6) and Zack Chamberlain; Steen, Brydon (2), Stutesman (2) and Espedal.
RBI: Tenino — Zack Chamberlain 4, Zeb Chamberlain 2, Shaw 2. Hoquiam — Bravos 3, Stutesman, Steen. Three hits: Tenino — Zack Chamberlain, Shaw. Hoquiam — Bishop, Bravos. Two hits: Tenino — Harris, Hammond, Miller. Hoquiam — Brydon, Stutesman. Home runs: Tenino — Zack Chamberlain. Triples: Tenino — Shaw, Hammond. Hoquiam — Steen, Bishop. Doubles: Tenino — Zack Chamberlain, Shaw, Miller. Hoquiam — Espedal, Stutesman, Bravos 2.
Winning pitcher — McKitrick (walked two; struck out six). Losing pitcher — Stutesman (walked three; struck out four).