Hoquiam’s bats took some time to get going, but caught fire at the right time against Forks on Tuesday afternoon.
Tied at 2-2 after 4 1/2 innings, the Grizzlies struck for 10 unanswered runs to end this Evergreen 1A baseball contest via the 10-run mercy rule, 12-2, in six innings at Olympic Stadium.
Tristan Stutesman drove in five runs — four of them in the fifth and sixth innings — to lead third-place Hoquiam (11-5, 12-5), which will host second-place Tenino in a pivotal league doubleheader today.
“I thought we started slow and we can’t start slow, starting (Wednesday),” HHS head coach Steve Jump said. “You can’t come in overconfident and you have to play all seven innings. We played a solid three innings today. When we play other competition, we have to play confident, one pitch at a time and focused. In our losses, we’ve struggled at the plate. We need to be more disciplined.”
It was a tough beginning for Hoquiam, which had three of its four fielding errors in the first three innings of the contest. HHS starter Joel Brydon overcame them by limiting the Spartans (2-14, 4-14) to two hits in that span.
A two-run third inning gave Forks a 2-1 lead, but both runs were unearned for Brydon. One came across on a throwing error and Reece Moody slugged an RBI single for the Spartans.
Brydon finished with a three-hit complete-game victory, striking out seven and walking one for HHS.
“Joel threw a great game,” Jump added. “Our hitting is what will take the pressure off of our pitchers. I thought we finished strong in the last few innings.”
Hoquiam’s Jack Skinner gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single and Stutesman tied the game in the bottom of the third with a sacrifice fly RBI to left field.
In the fifth, Hoquiam loaded the bases with no outs — a Jerod Steen walk and two straight hit-by-pitches (by two different Forks relievers) to Blake Kelly and Brydon — to threaten. Stutesman slugged a two-run single past a drawn-in infield and Brydon came in to score on an outfield fielding error for a 5-2 lead.
Stutesman went to third on the play and scored on Kolby Standstipher’s groundout at 6-2. Skinner parlayed a two-out double to left field into a run on a stolen base and a passed ball for a 7-2 lead.
Hoquiam ended the game in the bottom of the sixth when Steen led off with a triple to right-center field. Kelly drove him in with an RBI single, then went to third on an outfield error off the bat of Brydon. Stutesman drove in Kelly and Brydon with an RBI single and went to third on Kolby Standstipher’s double.
Kyle Standstipher ended the game with a two-run single to left field via the mercy rule.
Steen, Stutesman, Kolby and Kyle Standstipher and Skinner each had two hits for Hoquiam.
Forks 002 000 — 2 3 4
Hoquiam 011 055 — 12 11 4
Lawson, Adams (4), Contreras (5) and Hagan; Brydon and Skinner.
RBI: Forks — Moody. Hoquiam — Kelly, Stutesman 5, Ko. Standstipher, Ky. Standstipher 2, Skinner 2. Two hits: Hoquiam — Steen, Stutesman, Ko. Standstipher, Ky. Standstipher, Skinner. Triple: Hoquiam — Steen. Doubles: Hoquiam — Skinner, Ko. Standstipher.
Winning pitcher — Brydon (seven strikeouts, one walks). Losing pitcher — Adams (one walks).