Even with their unforms caked with mud, the Bobcats had reason to smile following a rain-aborted league baseball opener.
With Reilly Fairchild excelling on the mound and at the plate, Aberdeen owned a 4-1 lead over reigning league champion Chehalis when wet grounds forced suspension of their Evergreen 2A Conference contest Thursday at Pioneer Park’s Ken Waite Field.
The game was called after 3 1/2 innings. It is scheduled to be completed Monday prior to a makeup contest at Chehalis.
A relatively light but steady rain began falling just after the Chehalis bus arrived in Aberdeen. The Aberdeen Parks & Recreation maintenance crew did a good job of keeping the infield and baselines playable, but pitchers on both sides were experiencing difficulty keeping their footing on the muddy mound by the time umpires and coaches agreed to call a halt after the Bearcats were retired in the top of the fourth.
The conditions didn’t affect Fairchild’s assortment of breaking stuff and sinking fastballs. Enticing his standard quota of ground balls, the senior right-hander had retired 10 straight before surrendering his lone hit and an unearned run in the fourth.
After being limited to one hit in a season-opening loss at Timberline, the Bobcats made solid contact in knocking out Chehalis starter Brady Calkins in 2 2/3 innings. Fairchild delivered a pair of hits, while Collin Nord contributed an RBI double to lead the Aberdeen attack.
“There were a lot of positives that came out of this game,” Bobcat coach Shon Schreiber said. “These kids just have to believe in themselves.”
After squandering a couple of opportunities in the first two innings, Aberdeen did all its scoring in the third.
Charlie Dietrich reached on a leadoff error, but was erased at second when Devan Harke bunted into a force play. After Harke reached second on an errant pickoff throw, Ashton Williamson walked.
A left-handed batter who possesses considerable power to the opposite field, Nord unloaded a long double to left-center that scored Harke. One out later, Fairchild grounded a run-scoring single to right.
Nord came in from third when the Bearcats threw through to second base on Fairchild’s steal. Devin Daniels completed the scoring by poking a single to right off reliever Logan James.
Keylen Steen broke up Fairchild’s no-hitter in the fourth with a clean single to left. Toby Johnson, who had walked moments earlier, scored on a two-out error.
Chehalis is regrouping a bit this season after losing a good share of last year’s powerhouse club to graduation. Former Bearcat pitching ace Mitch Gueller, the son of Montesano High graduate Jason Gueller and Hoquiam High alum Carrie (Thompson) Gueller, is currently at spring training in Florida with the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization.
The Bobcats are scheduled to visit Black Hills today.
Che 000 1 — 1 1 3 Aber 004 x — 4 5 2
Calkins, James (3) and Steen; Fairchild and Williamson.
RBI: Aberdeen — Nord, Fairchild, Daniels. Two hits: Aberdeen — Fairchild. Doubles: Aberdeen — Williamson, Nord.