If nothing else, Hoquiam demonstrated it will not live by pitching alone this season.
Erasing an early seven-run deficit by scoring 17 unanswered runs, the Grizzlies opened their baseball season with a 19-9 conquest of reigning league champion Montesano in an Evergreen 1A League contest Thursday at Olympic Stadium.
Kyle Standstipher pitched four innings of scoreless relief and aided his own cause immeasurably with five RBIs, including a game-tying three-run home run in the second inning. His run-scoring double in the sixth inning closed out the game via the 10-run mercy rule.
Every member of the starting lineup contributed to Hoquiam’s 18-hit attack as the Grizzlies went through five Montesano pitchers. The Bulldogs (0-1, 0-2) graduated the bulk of last year’s state runner-up team.
Ironically, pitching was considered Hoquiam’s forté this season. All-league hurler Sammy Lowder, however, is nursing a tender elbow (although he did play center field Thursday and made a couple of nice running catches). Montesano, meanwhile, capitalized on errors and starter Skyler Jump’s control problems to forge a 9-2 lead after 1 1/2 innings.
Both at the plate and on the mound, Standstipher changed the complexion of the contest.
The Bulldogs had parlayed a walk, two hit batters, a two-run throwing error and singles by Jordan Bussard and Austin Peterson into a five-run top of the first inning.
The Grizzlies got two runs back in their half of the first, but Monte starting pitcher Riley Olsen minimized the damage by getting Standstipher to hit into an inning-ending double play.
After the Bulldogs added four runs without benefit of a hit in the second to go up 9-2, Olsen appeared on the verge of pulling off another escape act in the bottom of that frame.
But after Hoquiam freshman Jerod Steen kept the inning alive with a two-out RBI double, Standstipher launched a game-tying three-run homer far over the left-field fence.
“The momentum, you could really feel the shift,” Grizzly coach Steve Jump reflected afterward. “And then to come out and pitch like (Kyle) did sealed the deal.”
Standstipher struggled a bit with his control in a contest that included 17 walks and seven hit batters. But he allowed only one hit and struck out eight in his four innings on the mound.
Lowder singled and scored on Josh Bishop’s sacrifice fly in the third to put Hoquiam in front to stay. The Grizzlies added another run later in the inning on consecutive singles by Blake Kelly, Joel Brydon and Kolby Standstipher (Kyle’s twin).
Hoquiam broke it open with a seven-run fifth and closed it out an inning later when Kyle Standstipher’s double into the right-center field gap scored Austin Edwards from second base.
“That’s what happens when you play tentative on defense and pitching,” Montesano coach Mike Bruner said. “We can’t play tight and give guys free passes and then serve up pitches they can hit a mile.”
Brydon went 4-for-5 with four RBIs and Bishop and Kolby Standstipher knocked in three runs apiece for the Grizzlies.
For all their scoring, the Bulldogs mustered only three hits — two by Bussard.
Montesano hosts Tenino on Tuesday. The Grizzlies host Rochester in a critical early-season doubleheader next Thursday.
Monte 540 000 — 9 3 1
Hoquiam 272 071 — 19 18 3
Olsen, Nelson (2), Englund (3), Cavanaugh (5), Peterson (5) and Bussard; Jump, Kyle Standstipher (3) and Skinner.
RBI: Montesano — Peterson 2, Hliboki, Nelson. Hoquiam — Kyle Standstipher 5, Skinner, Bishop 3, Kelly, Brydon 4, Kolby Standstipher 3, Steen. Four hits: Hoquiam — Brydon. Three hits: Hoquiam — Kyle Standstipher. Two hits: Montesano — Bussard. Hoquiam — Bishop, Kelly, Kolby Standstipher, Steen. Home runs: Hoquiam — Kyle Standstipher. Doubles: Hoquiam — Brydon, Steen, Kyle Standstipher.
Winning pitcher — Kyle Standstipher (walked six; struck out eight). Losing pitcher — Nelson (walked one; struck out none).