Junior left-hander Sammy Lowder came through with a pitching performance Hoquiam needed in a game it had to win on Tuesday.
Locked in a tight race for one of the coveted district postseason berths in the Evergreen 1A League, the Grizzlies received a complete game, one-hitter from Lowder and plenty of run support for an 8-0 victory over Rochester at Olympic Stadium.
The victory for Hoquiam (7-5, 7-5) gives it a season sweep over Rochester entering a pivotal portion of the league schedule.
“We really needed this one,” HHS head coach Steve Jump said. “It was unfortunate last week that if we had a fresh (Lowder) against Montesano, it could have been different. This was big (against Rochester) to get all three of the games from them. We’ll see how the playoff picture plays out. There is still a lot of baseball left to play.”
Lowder, who threw two complete games last week against Forks and Montesano, had plenty of pitches working against the Warriors. The only hit allowed by the lefty came with one out in the fourth inning, a sharp single by Lucas Eastman to right field.
Before and after the hit, Lowder was in control, striking out seven and walking two, with one hit-batter throw in. The defense behind him gave up no errors and stranded all three runners left on base.
All that was left was a little bit of run support and the Grizzlies obliged.
“He hit his spots, kept the ball down and when he’s on, he was on today,” Jump said of Lowder. “He doesn’t let too many guys on base and we have a lot of confidence behind him. The bats came through as well early. Jake Guined and Joel Brydon have been hitting great. The top-six guys have been hitting the ball well.”
Second baseman Guined drove in four runs, including the first three of the game, for Hoquiam. A two-run single up the middle in the first inning got the scoring going, then the senior added an RBI single in the third.
A three-run fourth inning, with two of the three runs unearned for Rochester starting pitcher Dustin Wilson due to two infield errors, gave Hoquiam a 6-0 lead. Guined knocked in his fourth run of the game with a groundout, while Blake Kelly and Josh Bishop scored on throwing errors.
Lowder helped himself out in the sixth inning with a two-out, two-run single in the sixth inning to end the scoring. Lowder led the Grizzlies at the plate with three hits, including a double, with Josh Steen, Guined and Joel Brydon adding two hits each.
Hoquiam will get the next week off, returning to action at home against Elma next Tuesday.
Roch 000 000 0 — 0 1 4 Hoq 201 302 x — 8 11 0
Wilson, Eastman (6) and Deal; Lowder and Bishop.
RBI: Hoquiam — Guined 4, Lowder 2. Three hits: Hoquiam — Lowder. Two hits: Hoquiam — Steen, Guined, Brydon. Doubles: Hoquiam — Lowder, Brydon.
Winning pitcher — Lowder (seven strikeouts, two walks). Losing pitcher — Wilson (eight strikeouts, two walks).