CASTLE ROCK —Hoquiam received three pitching gems for the price of one and earned a regional berth in the process.
Three Hoquiam pitchers teamed up to hold Elma to just two hits in a 3-0 victory in the District IV Class 1A Baseball Tournament Friday at Castle Rock.
The Grizzlies (15-7) will face Tenino at noon in a game to decide third and fourth places. Both teams are assured berths in regional competiton May 24.
The loss ended Elma’s season at 15-8.
Hoquiam pitchers Sammy Lowder, Kyle Standstipher and Skyler Jump combined to strike out 11. Lowder worked the first three innings to pick up the win.
“We have outstanding pitching, but when we don’t support them with runs, it puts a lot of pressure on our pitchers,” Hoquiam head coach Steve Jump said. “We gave them the run support today, and I’m very confident in the pitchers we threw. It was a great day for pitching for us.”
The Grizzlies capitalized on some ill-timed Eagle miscues in advancing.
Sammy Lowder walked to lead off the bottom of the third inning for Hoquiam, then advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Josh Bishop. Later in the inning, Blake Kelly’s ground ball to second was thrown away, allowing Lowder to come in from second base to open the scoring.
Tristan Stutesman led off the bottom of the fourth inning with another walk, then advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Kolby Standstipher. Kyle Standstipher followed with a ground-ball single through the infield that advanced Stutesman to third base. Stutesman scored on an another error, this one on Jack Skinner’s grounder, to give the Grizzlies a 2-0 lead.
Jerod Steen led off the Hoquiam fifth with a bloop single into right field. Yet another sacrifice bunt, this time by Kelly, advanced Steen to second base. One out later, Stutesman drilled a line drive into center field for a single, plating Steen and rounding out the game’s scoring.
In addition to the fielding errors, Elma (15-8) made a couple of crucial mistakes on the base paths that hurt them.
“We had opportunities,” Elma head coach Scott Rowland said. “We committed a couple of errors and made some baserunning mistakes. Obviously, more hits would have been beneficial. That’s a no-brainer. It just didn’t happen today. That’s baseball.”
In the top of the fourth inning, the Eagles had runners on first and second with two outs when Tristan Robinette hit a single into the outfield. Cody Sutherby held at third, but Thomas Hughes rounded second base and nearly reached third before realizing it was occupied by Sutherby. Hughes attempted to get back to second base, but was tagged out by Steen, ending the inning.
After working two scoreless innings, Kyle Standstipher walked the first two Eagles batters, Hughes and Ortega, before being replaced on the mound by Skyler Jump. The latter walked the first batter he faced, Cole Thornock, on four pitches, loading the bases with no outs.
The freshman settled down quickly and fanned Robinette and Seth Osgood before picking off Jayden Olson, who was running for Thornock, at first base to end the threat unscathed. Jump did not allow a hit and struck out three Eagles batters in his two innings of work.
“It was a gutsy performance,” Steve Jump said. “(Skyler) plays bigger than a freshman. He really wanted to pitch today. We went with our older kids first, then he got his opportunity. I think he made the most of it.”
“Young Jump did a great job closing it out,” Rowland said of Skyler. “He’s a great thrower and he did a really good job.”
Lowder, Standstipher (4), Jump (6) and Skinner; Camenzind, Thornock (5) and Swinhart
RBI: Hoquiam – Stutesman.
Winning pitcher — Lowder (walked three; struck out five). Losing pitcher — Camenzind (walked three; struck out two).