With a regional berth within its grasp, Elma didn’t count on Rochester catching its fourth wind on Tuesday.
After working the final three innings of a 17-inning victory earlier in the day, Dustin Wilson pitched a complete-game six-hitter as Rochester edged the error-plagued Eagles, 5-3, in the semifinals of the District Class 1A Baseball Tournament at Rochester.
Austin Neary’s two-run homer capped a three-run seventh inning that rallied the Eagles to a 7-5 win over Toledo/Winlock in a district opener earlier in the day at Tenino.
The split left the Eagles (15-7) one win shy of a regional berth. They’ll face rival Hoquiam in a winner-to-regionals, loser-out contest scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday at Castle Rock.
The winner of that game will play again Saturday in a regional seeding contest. Elma took two out of three meetings from the Grizzlies in Evergreen 1A League play.
Seemingly beneficial to Elma in terms of potentially wearing out the future opposition, Rochester’s marathon 1-0 win over La Center in the opening round proved very much a double-edged sword for the Eagles.
A 2-hour delay while they waited for the Rochester-La Center game to conclude sapped whatever momentum the Eagles had generated from their come-from-behind victory over Toledo/Winlock. Elma wound up committing five errors against Rochester, all in the first five innings.
“It didn’t help us any,” Elma coach Scott Rowland said of the wait. “If you look at how we played, we kind of lost our focus. We had our opportunities, but we didn’t play very well.”
Staff ace Wilson, meanwhile, barely maintained his mound eligibility by working the final three innings of the La Center game. Despite a workload that included a 116-pitch count against Elma, the senior right-hander went the distance to collect his second win of the day.
Rochester won the opener on Josh Larson’s bases-loaded bunt single in the bottom of the 17th. Dylan Fosnacht pitched the first 14 innings of that contest.
“The energy level was very high in both games,” veteran Rochester coach Jerry Striegel said.
Eagles 7, Warhawks 5
The Eagles began and ended this game in style.
Todd Swinhart and Ricky Escalante opened the contest with consecutive triples. Nick Camenzind and Neary followed with singles for a 3-0 lead.
Toledo/Winlock pitcher Wes Kuzminsky settled down, however, to limit the Eagles to three hits and a single run in the next five innings. The Warhawks, meanwhile, cashed in on Elma errors to take a 5-4 lead into the seventh.
Swinhart reached on an error to lead off the inning, advanced to third on a stolen base and Escalante’s sacrifice and scored the tying run on a wild pitch.
After Camenzind walked, Neary blasted Kuzminsky’s first pitch to left. The only question was whether it would stay fair and it hooked barely inside the foul pole as it cleared the fence.
Camenzind worked a perfect bottom of the seventh — his only 1-2-3 inning of the contest — to nail down the victory. Not quite as sharp as in his one-hit victory over Montesano last week, the senior right-hander nevertheless allowed only four hits and two earned runs while striking out eight.
Neary and Camenzind had two hits apiece for Elma.
Warriors 5, Eagles 3
Possibly due to fatigue, Wilson had some difficulty locating his pitches early. He still struck out 12, however, and stymied some late-inning Eagle threats.
Rochester, meanwhile, made full use of the extra outs that Elma’s shaky defense provided.
The Warriors snapped a 2-2 tie with an unearned run in the third. Lucas Eastman added an RBI double in the fourth and Wyatt Singer’s sacrifice fly scored Wilson (who had doubled) in the fifth to make it 5-2.
The Eagles got a run back in their half of the fifth, but it proved to be an inning that could have been much bigger.
Swinhart’s single drove in Seth Osgood, who had beaten out an infield hit and advanced on an errant pickoff throw. After a hit batsman and a wild pitch, Elma had runners on second and third with none out.
Wilson, however, picked the runner off at second, then struck out the next two batters to end the inning. The Rochester ace also worked out a two-on, two-out predicament in the sixth.
Camenzind reached on an error with two outs in the seventh, but Wilson fanned Neary to end the game.
Thomas Hughes stroked a two-run single for Elma in the first inning. He finished with two hits, as did Swinhart.
Elma’s opponents scored in nine of the 14 innings Tuesday. The Eagles, however, allowed multiple runs only in Rochester’s two-run first.
Elma 300 001 3 — 7 8 4 Tol/Win 110 111 0 — 5 4 5
Camenzind and Swinhart; Kuzminsky and Gove.
RBI: Elma — Neary 2, Camenzind, Escalante. Toledo/Winlock — Gove, Korpi. Two hits: Elma — Camenzind, Neary. Home runs: Elma — Neary. Triples: Elma — Swinhart, Escalante.
Winning pitcher — Camenzind (walked four; struck out eight). Losing pitcher — Kuzminsky (walked four; struck out three).
Roch 201 110 0 — 5 6 3 Elma 200 010 0 — 3 6 5
Wilson and Deal; Neary, Thornock (6) and Swinhart.
RBI: Rochester — Eastman, Deal, Singer. Elma — Hughes 2, Swinhart. Two hits: Rochester — Eastman, Fosnacht. Elma — Swinhart, Hughes. Doubles: Rochester — Eastman, Wilson.
Winning pitcher — Wilson (walked two; struck out 12). Losing pitcher — Neary (walked one; struck out two).