CHEHALIS — Aberden regained its batting eye just in time to ensure its survival in the State 10-11 Little League Baseball Tournament.
Doing all its scoring in the fourth and fifth innings, Aberdeen stayed alive in the double-elimination tourney by topping Pacific of Edmonds-Lynnwood, 6-3, Wednesday night on Stan Hedwall Park.
Riverview of Spokane knocked Aberdeen into the losers bracket Tuesday, 15-5, in a contest shortened to four innings by the 10-run mercy rule.
Kobie Fall pitched a four-hitter and Anthony Alexander hit a three-run homer Wednesday as Aberdeen advanced to the tourney’s Final Four.
The District III champions will face Cascade of Vancouver-Camas in another loser-out contest at 5 p.m. today. Unbeaten Riverview and Mercer Island will collide in the winners bracket final at approximately 7:15.
The tournament runs through at least Saturday, with an if-necessary second game planned for Sunday.
Aberdeen 6, Pacific 3
Alexander’s three-run homer in the fifth proved the difference. But the pivotal inning might have been the fourth, in which the Harborites scored three times after the frame appeared to be over.
Trailing 1-0 on Dominick Farley’s solo homer in the third, Aberdeen was held hitless by Pacific starter Cole Duncan through 3 2/3 innings. Eli Brown and Alexander, however, had drawn walks to put runners on first and second with two outs in the fourth.
Reserve Kayden Seibert’s grounder skipped past the third baseman into left field. Attempting to score from second, pinch-runner Jeremy Roberts was trapped in a rundown between third and home. Breaking for the plate, he collided with catcher Parker Cumberland, who was standing in the baseline without the ball, and was eventually tagged.
Roberts was initially called out and the Pacific players ran off the field. But the umpires huddled and ruled that Cumberland was guilty of obstruction, allowing the run to score.
Consecutive infield hits by Dakota Davis and Patrick Hunt produced another run. Connar Sherman followed with a single up the middle that drove in Seibert to make it 3-1.
Alexander’s drive cleared the fence in right-center an inning later, scoring Carter Olsen and Jayden Watson ahead of him.
After playing exceptional defense for five innings, Aberdeen committed all three of its errors in the sixth as the rain that had soaked the Harbor for much of the day finally struck Chehalis. Sandwiched around Cole Nelson’s infield hit and Luke Hunnewell’s sacrifice fly, that enabled Pacific to score twice before Fall recorded the final out on a grounder to third.
Demonstrating excellent control, Fall shut down a Pacific club that had entered the contest averaging 16 runs per game for the tournament. The Aberdeen right-hander walked only one while striking out four.
In addition to his hitting heroics, Alexander contributed the game’s defensive gem. He made a sprawling backhand stop of Nathan Prinz’s hot shot wide of first base and barely outran Prinz to the bag in the fourth inning.
Riverview 15, Aberdeen 5
After Fall’s second home run of the game gave Aberdeen a 5-4 lead, Riverview used timely hitting, fielding errors and a few wild pitches to score 11 unanswered runs for the mercy-rule win in the winners bracket semifinals on Tuesday.
For the first two innings, this contest had the makings of a slugfest.
After Riverview got a two-out, RBI double from Ethan Moriniti in the top of the first, Aberdeen struck with back-to-back solo home runs — Fall and Olsen — to power a three-run frame.
Riverview took a 4-3 lead in the second off Aberdeen starter Brown on a combination of wild pitches, an RBI single by Conner Andreas and a sacrifice fly by Cole Seaman.
Fall gave Aberdeen the lead back in the bottom of the second with a smashing two-run home run to right field at 5-4. Riverview reliever Andrew Heesh settled in after the blast to get Aberdeen out in order to limit the damage.
Fall led Aberdeen at the plate with two home runs and three RBI. Four of Aberdeen’s seven hits in the game were for extra bases.
Fall’s hit was the end of Aberdeen’s scoring punch. Heesh gave up just a lead-off double to Watson in the third inning and nothing else until a one-out walk in the fourth inning.
Riverview took full advantage of Aberdeen’s cold bats. Two fielding errors, along with several wild pitches by Brown, contributed to a five-run third inning and a 9-5 lead.
In the fourth, Brown went the full limit of his pitch count and gave way to relievers Fall and Connar Sherman to finish the contest.
Riverview loaded the bases in the fourth with two outs. The Spokane group got an RBI walk and a bases-loaded clearing double to pace a six-run surge and set up the 10-run mercy rule.
Heesh and Chad Carlson finished the bottom of the fourth inning on the mound with Aberdeen threatening to extend the game. Carlson got a strikeout to end the game with two Aberdeen runners in scoring position.
Andreas and Moritini each drove in four runs for Riverview.
Riverview 135 6 — 15 9 1 Aberdeen 320 0 — 5 7 5
Monson, Heesh (2), Carlson (4) and Moritini; Brown, Fall (4), Sherman (4) and Olsen.
Aberdeen 000 330 — 6 5 3 Pacific 001 002 — 3 4 1
Fall and Brown, Olsen (5); Duncan, Nelson (5) and Cumberland.