Host Aberdeen Longshore’s underdog run through the Southern Washington State Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament came to an abrupt end Monday.
A late comeback bid by the Longshoremen fell barely short in a 10-8 loss to Centerfield of Kalama/Woodland/Ridgefield/La Center in the losers bracket final last night at Pioneer Park’s Ken Waite Field.
Earlier in the day, Prairie Hardball of Brush Prairie trounced Longshore, 15-4, in the winners bracket final. Centerfield then eliminated Three Rivers Blue of the Tri-Cities, 4-0.
Unbeaten Prairie and once-beaten Centerfield will collide in the title round beginning at 11 a.m. today. Prairie can wrap up the title with a victory. A Centerfield win would force a second title contest at approximately 2 p.m.
The champion advances to regionals next week in Klamath Falls, Ore.
One of the pre-tournament longshots, Aberdeen Longshore won its first two games and wound up third at state. The hosts advanced to the winners bracket final with a 4-1 win over Centerfield on Sunday.
Spradlin Rock of Hoquiam bowed out Saturday, beating Granite Construction of Camas, 4-3, but falling to J.H. Kelly of Longview-Kelso, 5-0.
Centerfield 10, Longshore 8
Aberdeen’s seven errors exacerbated the struggle to slow down its opponents’ potent offense. But the Longshoremen made things interesting with a five-run sixth.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, J.J. Wahl and Kaleb Lockey walked, and Roberto Lopez reached on an error to load the bases for Longshore. Derek Doust hit a seeing-eye single into left field to score Wahl.
Lopez scored when Zack Larsen drew a bases-loaded walk and Lockey scored on Danny Goodenough’s infield out, cutting Centerfield’s lead to 9-6. A two-out, infield single by Blake Jordan drove in Doust and moved Larsen to third base. Larsen then cut the deficit by scoring on a wild pitch.
The Longshoremen did not get any closer than that. KWRL scored an unearned run in the top of the seventh, and Jamison Benitez retired all three batters he faced in the bottom half of the seventh to secure the victory.
Centerfield started the game off with a bang. Sam Gillenwater led off the top of the first inning with an infield single. Josh Soske followed with a home run over the left-field fence. Nick Martin singled into center field and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Lucan Colton, putting the KWRL team up 3-0.
Soske struck again in the second inning with a line drive single that plated Aaron Shoop. Gillenwater also scored on the play due to a throwing error. Later in the inning, Soske scored on a Matt Dioron single, giving Centerfield a 6-1 lead. Soske recorded three hits in the game, scored three runs and drove in four more.
Larsen excelled for Longshore. In addition to scoring two runs and reaching base in all four of his plate appearances, the shortstop displayed impressive range in the field, a slick glove and a strong arm.
Doust recorded two hits, drove in two runs and was the only Aberdeen player besides Larsen who scored two runs.
Prairie 15, Longshore 4
Prairie went through five Grays Harbor pitchers in scoring in every inning but the second.
The Brush Prairie squad amassed 13 hits, including three from Matt Vick. It also did an excellent job of manufacturing runs — tallying on a double steal, suicide squeeze, and a balk, among other methods. Prairie’s Kyle Hall, in fact, drove in three runs without benefit of a hit.
Prairie sandwiched doubles by Simon Bos and Garrett Lindstrom around Vick’s single in a two-run first against Longshore starter J.J. Wahl that established a permanent lead.
Stymied by Prairie breaking-ball specialist Parker Nelson through five innings, the Longshoremen did all their scoring in the final two frames.
Down 11-0, the hosts averted a mercy-rule loss with a three-run sixth. After a pair of walks and Larsen’s bunt single loaded the bases with none out. Jordan’s single knocked in two runs, with Larsen later plating on an errant pickoff throw.
Larsen’s sacrifice fly scored Kaleb Lockey, who had singled, in the seventh.
Lindstrom, Nelson, Cam Callaway and Jacob Brown had two hits apiece for Prairie.
SUNDAY Longshore 4, Centerfield 1
Larsen scattered eight hits in Longshore’s semifinal win over Centerfield.
The Aberdeen High graduate (who redshirted this past year at Saint Martin’s University) struck out 10 and didn’t allow his first walk until there were two outs in the seventh. Of his 106 pitches, 73 were strikes.
The Longshoremen supported their pitcher with errorless defense.
Larsen also made an impact offensively. He tripled and scored the game’s first run in the opening inning on Jordan’s double. After Centerfield trimmed the deficit to 3-1 with a run in the top of the sixth, Larsen came in from third base in Longshore’s half of the sixth when the catcher threw to first base on a strikeout.
Longshore’s other two runs came in the second on a walk to Tanner Niels, Roberto Lopez’s one-out single and a couple of errors.
Ironically, given Larsen’s control, the lone Centerfield run came on a wild pitch.
After Larsen set down the first two batters in the seventh, Aaron Shoup walked and Sam Gillenwater was hit by a pitch to bring the potential tying run to the place. Josh Soske, however, bounced to second baseman J.J. Wahl for the final out.
Jordan led Aberdeen’s attack with two hits. Matt Dioron went 3-for-3, including a pair of doubles, and Nick Martin added two hits for Centerfield.
Prairie 4, Three Rivers Blue 3
Doing all its scoring in the first three innings, Prairie narrowly withstood a late Three Rivers rally.
Lindstrom stroked a two-run single in the first and an RBI double in the third to stake Prairie to a 4-1 lead.
Three Rivers scored twice without benefit of a hit in the fifth inning, but overadventurous baserunning and one controversial call combined to thwart the Blues.
The Tri-Cities club had two runners thrown out at home and another at third base. The Blues also had an apparent run taken off the board in the first inning.
With runners on second and third and one out, Marques Johnson flied to center field. Jimmy Gifford tagged up and came in from third after the catch, but Ethyn Langlois was thrown out attempting to advance from second to third. Although Gifford seemed to clearly cross the plate before the out was recorded at third base, the umpires ruled otherwise and nullified the run.
The Three Rivers seventh proved to be a microcosm of the game.
Colby Wakefield represented the tying run when he tripled to left-center leading off the inning. He held third when Gifford grounded to first base for the first out, then was thrown out at the plate on Langlois’ grounder to shortstop Callaway. Garret Willard flied to center to end it.
Pra 211 000 0 — 4 9 4 TRB 100 020 0 — 3 5 0
Taylor, Bos (5) and Vick; Langlois and Kottwitz.
CF 000 000 1 — 1 8 2 Long 120 001 x — 4 6 0
Zimmerman, Shoup (6) and Williams; Larsen and Krigbaum.
Pra 201 134 4 — 15 13 1 Long 000 003 1 — 4 6 2
Nelson, C. Callaway (7) and Vick; Wahl, Bretz (3), Goodenough (6), Baltzell (6), Niels (7) and Krigbaum.
CF 331 011 1 – 10 12 1 Long 101 105 0 — 8 7 7
Lockey, Bretz (2), Wahl (3) and Niels; Shoop, Benitez (6) and Williams.