Friday’s 2A Baseball: Hawkins, Bearcats Win Round 1 of Rivalry Series
RIVALS: Dakota Hawkins Carries a No-Hitter into the Sixth as W.F. West Beats Centralia 6-1 to Stay Atop EvCo Standings
By Aaron VanTuyl
Dakota Hawkins was quick to point out that he had help on Friday — in the form of a few runs from the offense and a few nice plays by his defense.
Even in those aspects, though, the Bearcat junior had some of the game’s biggest plays.
Hawkins carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and W.F. West won the first round of baseball’s Swamp Cup, 6-1, in Chehalis to stay atop the Evergreen 2A Conference standings.
“He basically stuffed us early. Stuffed us hard,” Centralia coach Rex Ashmore said of Hawkins. “He’s in command of what he’s doing, and you’ve got to give the kid credit. He can definitely throw it up there.”
Hawkins retired the first 10 batters and had only faced one hitter over the minimum when Isaiah Trevino hit an opposite-field single to break up the no-hit bid with two outs in the sixth inning.
“I always had it in the back of my mind, but I’m just trying to keep going, do the best I can for the team and keep throwing strikes,” Hawkins said, of the first five-plus hitless innings, “and get back in the dugout so we can get more runs up.”
The runs came easy enough in the first inning. Tyson Guerrero and Drew Forgione started off the bottom of the first inning with singles, and Hawkins — batting third — lined a double to left to score the game’s first run. Nole Wollan knocked in Forgione with a single, and Hawkins came home on a wild pitch to stake himself a 3-0 lead.
“I think he was just a little bit off at the start of the game with his offspeed pitch, and we were able to get a couple pitches that were hittable,” Bearcat coach Bryan Bullock said of Selstrom. “I thought we also did his some balls hard, and they made all the plays behind him. He was good, but also his defense really played well behind him.”
After that, though, Centralia starter Broc Selstrom settled in. The junior righthander retired 10 batters in a row from the end of the first inning to the start of the fifth, until an error put a runner on base and a single from Hawkins scored the unearned run.
The Bearcat defense, too, was solid until the final frame. Hawkins picked up a well-placed bunt from Hodges Bailey and threw off his back foot to get the Tigers’ speedy leadoff man at first, and catcher Tysen Paul snagged an infield fly in the sixth inning.
Centralia got its lone run in the seventh, on back-to-back singles from Joseph Pineda and Joey Aliff with an outfield error mixed in. That prompted Bullock to bring Brandon White out of the bullpen — his second relief appearance this week — to get the final three outs.
Hawkins finished with six strikeouts, three hits and two walks, while White faced four and only allowed a runner on an error.
Austin Emery tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly from Adrian Boites, and pinch-hitter Kolby Steen walked, took second on a wild pitch and scored on an error for the Bearcats’ final two runs in the seventh.
“We knew our strength of our team was pitching and defense, and I thought that was what we showcased today,” Bullock said. “But we’ve got to continue to fight and claw offensively, and get better as we get down into playoff baseball.”
The win puts the Bearcats (10-2, 7-1 league) a game ahead of Centralia for first in the EvCo standings, and wraps up a week in which W.F. West went 4-0 in league play.
Centralia, meanwhile, drops to 6-2 on the year and 5-2 in league action. The Tigers, though, have five games against W.F. West and Tumwater — the two preseason league favorites — in their EvCo schedule.
“I don’t think it’s any secret in our league that it’s Chehalis and Tumwater are probably a little bit better than the rest of us at this point in the season,” Ashmore said. “We’re old — senior-laden, but we’re inexperienced. It’s going to take us a while facing teams like this to be able to beat them later.”
Centralia hosts Aberdeen on Monday, then hosts Tumwater for a 4 p.m. doubleheader on Tuesday. W.F. West plays at Rochester on Tuesday and hosts Rochester on Wednesday.
Note: Centralia and W.F. West are scheduled to play again on May 1, and conclude the crosstown rivalry series on May 2.
BEARCATS 6, TIGERS 1
Centralia 000 000 1 — 1 3 2
W.F. West 300 012 X — 6 6 2
Batteries: Centralia — Broc Selstrom and Jerod Frias; W.F. West — Dakota Hawkins, Brandon White (7) and Tysen Paul