Spradlin Rock splits Saturday’s games, bows out of Sr. Babe Ruth state tourney


Today’s Games

At Pioneer Park, Aberdeen

10 a.m. — Three Rivers Blue vs. Prairie; 1 p.m. — Longshore vs. Center Field; 4 p.m. — Three Rivers Red vs. loser Three Rivers Blue/Prairir; 7 p.m. — JH Kelly vs. loser Longshore/Center Field.

A long day at the ballpark for Hoquiam’s Spradlin Rock ended its appearance at the Southern Washington State Senior Babe Ruth Tournament on Saturday.

After opening the day with a walk-off 4-3 win over Granite Construction, of Camas/Washougal, the Hawks were eliminated from the tournament with a 5-0 loss to JH Kelly, of Longview/Kelso.

Spradlin Rock was the third team to be eliminated on the day. Granite was the first, followed by Competitive Athletics, of Castle Rock. Three Rivers Red, of the Tri-Cities, knocked off Competitive, 3-2.

“This is the best group of teams we’ve seen at a state tournament,” Spradlin Rock manager Dave Hinchen said. “This was tough. Granite Construction, which we faced earlier today, was the team everyone thought would win (state). This team here, JH Kelly, didn’t expect to be in the losers’ bracket. They are unbelievable. It is a tough tournament. Any team can beat any team here on any day.”

JH Kelly 5, Spradlin Rock 0

This loser-out contest started and finished with JH Kelly’s Jose Hinajosa on the mound.

The right-hander handcuffed and shackled the Hawks’ offense from the beginning. Spradlin Rock finished with just three hits — all singles. Riley Fairchild’s two-out single to left field in the third inning was the first hit. Ronnie Espedal stroked a bloop single to left field in the sixth inning. Matthew Morton got the Hawks’ third hit, a single over the shortstop, in the seventh.

Hinajosa also snuffed out the only threats the Hawks had.

In the third, a two-out infield error, Fairchild’s single and a hit batter created bases loaded in the third. Hinajosa ended the threat with a strikeout. Hinajosa picked off Espedal on a rundown in the sixth inning to quell any chance of a rally. Much to the dismay of Spradlin Rock coaches, they argued for a balk call on the pickoff move, but none came from game officials. In the seventh, Hinajosa ended the game with a fielder’s choice and fly out to center.

Hinjosa finished with seven strikeouts and no walks for the complete-game win. Spradlin Rock’s Ryan Burnett took the loss on the mound in two innings of work.

“The kid was tough,” Hinchen added.

Burnett limited the damage by JH Kelly as much as possible. In the first, a sacrifice fly by Ryan Dahl plated the first run. In the second, AJ Golden’s two-out RBI single and an infield throwing error made it 3-0.

Against reliever Morton, JH Kelly tacked on single runs in the fifth and sixth innings — a squeeze bunt RBI for Mike Giles and a Golden fielder’s choice RBI, respectively.

Spradlin Rock 4, Granite Const. 3

The first loser-out contest of the day was a tight affair, with most of the scoring coming early to set up a dramatic finish.

In the bottom of the seventh, Spradlin Rock got a lead-off single from Ryan Burnett. Josh Steen bunted Burnett to second and an infield error off a Riley Fairchild grounder got Burnett to third with one out.

Drew Bravos, whose one-out triple in the fifth inning was stranded in Spradlin’s best previous chance to snap the tie, was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Ashton Williamson worked the count and delivered a walk-off RBI single to right field to score Burnett and stay alive for another game.

Fairchild worked a solid complete-game performance on the mound, getting the win with five strikeouts and no walks. Granite, of Camas/Washougal, scattered nine hits off Fairchild, but five of them came in its three-run second inning.

RBI singles by Brandon Casteel and Derek Devlin, along with an infield throwing error, plated the runs for Granite.

In the bottom of the second, Spradlin got back-to-back-to-back doubles to tie the game at 3-3. Jake Guined started the doubles string down the left-field line. Matthew Morton doubled down the right-field line to score Williamson. Cody Parker tied the game with a two-run double to deep right-center field.

During the top of the second inning, state Babe Ruth officials noticed that Spradlin’s Espedal was not on the official roster submitted before the tournament started. He was removed from the game once it was noticed.

After consultation with Hinchen and state officials, an appeal to reinstate Espedal went through official channels to the Babe Ruth Baseball National headquarters in New Jersey. The appeal was upheld, giving Espedal eligibility for the game against JH Kelly.

Three Rivers Red 3, Competitive Athletics 2

Both teams had their chances to take control of this loser-out contest. Three Rivers Red took advantage of its last shot to knock out one of the pre-tournament favorites.

Tied at 2-2, in the top of the seventh, Trenton Dohaniuk delivered a two-out RBI single to five Three Rivers the win.

Both teams combined for 17 runners left on base. Three Rivers Red loaded the bases twice, but only got one run out of those chances to strand nine in the game. Competitive stranded eight.

Brandon Weber led Three Rivers with two hits and Dohaniuk drove in two runs, including a bases-loaded groundout RBI in the first inning. Ryan Oliver and Andy Voelker each had two hits to lead Competitive.

Center Field Baseball (KWRL) 2, Competitive Athletics 1

Center Field took a 2-0 lead on single-run innings and relied upon its defense to hold off Competitive in the first game of the day and the final opening-round contest of the tournament.

Nick Martin drove in two runs for Center Field — an infield RBI single in the first inning and an RBI single in the third inning.

Competitive’s Adam Langley got an infield RBI single in the sixth inning for his team’s lone run. Competitive loaded the bases in the sixth for its best threat of the game, but Center Field’s Josh Soshe made a running catch to end the inning.

SR 000 000 0 — 0 3 3

JHK 120 011 x — 5 4 3

Burnett, Morton (3) and Williamson; Hinajosa and Dalh.

TRR 100 100 1 — 3 7 0

CA 200 000 0 — 2 6 2

Beitz, Weber (6) and Taylor; Taylor and Voelker.

GC 030 000 0 — 3 9 2

SR 030 000 1 — 4 8 0

Malechewski and Casteel; Fairchild and Williamson.