Stellar pitching and an early offensive outburst proved a winning combination for the Twin Cities 14-year-old all-stars.
Jordan Wood and Jake Sutton combined on a four-hitter as the Centralia-Chehalis club captured the District III 14-year-old Babe Ruth baseball title with a 7-1 win over Mount St. Helens on Monday night at Pioneer Park’s Ken Waite Field.
The victory completed a sweep of district titles for the Twins in the first year of a format in which the Centralia-Chehalis and Aberdeen-Hoquiam-East Grays Harbor programs were combined.
Both district finalists, plus host Grays Harbor, advance to the Southern Washington State 14-year-old tourney that begins July 21 at Elma.
Grays Harbor was trounced by Mount St. Helens, 13-3, in Sunday’s semifinals. Twin Cities crushed South Thurston, 17-2, in the other semi.
In a tournament in which strong pitching was a rare commodity, Wood and Sutton teamed up for a gem Monday. Wood struck out eight before expending his mound eligibility in the fifth inning. Sutton finished up with two perfect innings.
Twin Cities did the bulk of its offensive damage in the first two innings.
Nolan Wasson nearly beheaded Mount St. Helens starter Connor Vermilyea with a line-drive single on the game’s first pitch. Jake Sutton followed with a single and both runners wound up scoring on infield outs.
Wood kept things alive with a two-out single. After stealing second, he rode home on Nolan Hawkins’ RBI double to make it 3-0.
Twin Cities added three more runs in the second, but wasted opportunities for big innings through overaggressive baserunning. The Twins had six runners thrown out on the bases.
Wasson and Mount St. Helens’ Aiden Arrington had two hits apiece.
Eight walks and six errors handcuffed Grays Harbor its its losing semifinal against Mount St. Helens. Kyle Standstipher doubled and singled, while Mikey Beck also had two hits for the Harborites.
Twin Cities sent 16 batters to the plate in an 11-run first inning against South Thurston. Wood tripled and doubled in that inning.
TC 330 100 0 — 7 9 0 MSH 100 000 0 — 1 4 3
Wood, Sutton (6) and Steen, Evinger; Vermilyea, Lusk (2), Hill (4) and McCloskey, Brown (5).