The Twin Cities All-Stars quickly ensured that Grays Harbor, having already obtained one pre-tournament goal, would not reach another in the Southern Washington State 14-year-old Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament.
Christian Peters pitched a one-hitter as the Centralia-Chehalis combine captured the state championship with a 10-2 rout of Grays Harbor on Saturday at Hoquiam’s Olympic Stadium.
By reaching the title round, Grays Harbor did fulfill its objective of earning a berth in the Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament beginning July 29 at Centralia.
Twin Cities had already been assured of a spot in that tourney as the host team. Based on their unbeaten state performance, the Twins should rank among the favorites in that event.
Peters missed a no-hitter by an eyelash. Karsen Legg’s infield single in the fifth inning, on a looping pop fly that fell in no-man’s land to the left of the mound between Peters and third baseman Cody Parker-Sexsmith, represented the only Harbor hit. The Harborites, in fact, sent exactly one ball out of the infield — Josh Collett’s fly-out to left field in the first.
The hard-throwing Peters struck out eight while walking two.
While the Twins played fundamentally sound ball throughout, Grays Harbor was far off the form it had displayed earlier in the tourney.
The Harborites were guilty of five physical errors (all in the first three innings) and a handful of mental miscues. Grays Harbor manager Scott Busz, however, didn’t believe his team suffered an emotional letdown after sweeping a pair of loser-out games Friday.
“We didn’t play as a team,” Busz asserted. “We didn’t support each other the way we should.”
Saturday’s game began promisingly for the hosts, as they scored without benefit of a hit in the first inning.
Leadoff batter Jack Skinner walked and advanced to third on a wild pitch and throwing error. One out later, Jerod Steen dropped a perfect squeeze bunt that scored Skinner.
Grays Harbor’s defensive difficulties began in the second. Nole Wollan singled off Harbor pitching ace Skyler Jump (who had four innings of mound eligibility after working three innings of relief the previous night) and came all the way around to score when the Harborites committed two errors on the same pickoff play.
Austin Emery then looped a double to center field, stole third and scored on a two-out wild pitch that gave Twin Cities a lead it never relinquished.
The Twins blew it open with a seven-run third in which they knocked out both Jump and reliever Collett.
That inning contained a little bit of everything — six hits, three errors, two walks and a balk. Two runs scored on a single wild pitch and another run came in when the return throw from the catcher back to Jump went awry.
Steen and Grant Larson limited Twin Cities to one run on two hits the rest of the way, but there was no coming back against Peters. Grays Harbor coaches began substituting as early as the fourth inning.
Grays Harbor’s other run also came without a hit. Steen, who reached on a fielder’s choice in the fourth, eventually tallied on a wild pitch.
Twin Cities’ Emery lacked only a home run of hitting for the cycle. Wollan added two hits.
Busz is optimistic that his team can regroup for regionals.
“I was pretty happy with our overall effort (in the tournament),” he said. “The only team that beat us was this team. We’ve got to believe that we can beat these guys and beat anybody on the field.”
GH 100 100 0 — 2 1 5
TC 027 010 — 10 10 2
Jump, Collett (3), Steen (3), Larson (5) and Skinner; Peters and Paul, Thomas.