CHEHALIS — Splitting their first four games, Willapa Harbor’s all-stars kept their regional hopes alive in the Southern Washington 15-year-old Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament.
The Willapa-South Beach crew evened its round-robin record at 2-2 with a 16-6 rout of Richland on Friday at Chehalis High School’s Bearcat Stadium. Willapa Harbor dropped a bizarre contest to KWRL (Kalama-Woodland-Ridgefield-La Center), 12-6, earlier in the day.
After falling to host Twin Cities of Centralia-Chehalis, 20-1, on Wednesday, Willapa Harbor rebounded by holding off Camas-Washougal, 10-7, on Thursday.
With a victory over Kennewick at 10 a.m. today, Willapa Harbor will qualify for the single-elimination portion of the tourney on Sunday. The top three teams in round-robin pool play advance.
The second and third seeds will collide at 10 a.m. Sunday in a winner-to-regionals, loser-out game. The winner of that contest will face the top-seeded club for the state title at approximately 1 p.m.
The regional tournament is scheduled for Baker City, Ore.
“I’m hoping we can put some numbers up (today) and get it done so we can get to Sunday,” Willapa Harbor manager Mike Allton said.
An eight-run first inning ignited Willapa Harbor past Richland on Sunday. Cub Bair and Lukas King had two hits apiece to support the pitching of Drake Mitby.
The Willapa Harbor-KWRL game was one of the strangest of the tournament. Down 10-0 entering the fifth, Willapa Harbor scratched out a run to avoid a mercy-rule defeat. Dereck Thomas then slugged a bases-clearing triple an inning later to trim the deficit to 10-5.
The ejection of a player, however, left Willapa Harbor without enough eligible players and the contest was then terminated. After the Babe Ruth rulebook was examined, however, it was determined that a substitution for the ejected player was allowed and the game was resumed some 45 minutes later. KWRL, however, closed out the victory.
Willapa Harbor’s victory over Camas-Washougal was also a wild one. An eight-run top of the sixth gave Willapa Harbor a 10-0 lead, but Camas-Washougal rallied with six runs in its half of the same inning before Mitby eventually picked up the save.
Tyson Johnson pitched five scoreless innings before reaching his eligibility limit. Sam Quinby and Matt Minton each doubled for Willapa Harbor.