1A Baseball: League-Leading Montesano Rallies Past Tenino
BACK AND FORTH: Beavers Strike First, but Kloempken Shuts the Door in 10-7 Montesano Win
By Aaron VanTuyl
TENINO — The Beavers nearly pulled off an upset, but a few too many walks and a solid relief outing from Nate Kloempken turned Montesano’s 10-7 win here Friday into a simple moral victory.
The 1A Evergreen League champion Bulldogs scored their final four runs in the last two innings to counter a strong start from Tenino, which made the most of its baserunners and had a 6-3 lead two innings in.
Tenino had lost, 7-0 and 12-2, to Montesano a week earlier — which, Beaver coach Conner Hogue said, shows the team’s growth to this point in the season.
“We were overthinking things, and now we just play good baseball,” he said. “They got the better of us today, but for us to be playing against that quality of a team and for us to keep it close throughout…”
Montesano, however, had 12 free runners — 10 walks and two hit batters — to work with, and still left at least two runners on base in every inning. Nate Kloempken, the Bulldogs’ ace, came on in relief in the fifth inning and didn’t allow a hit the rest of the way, striking out four and walking one with a hit batter.
Before Kloempken’s entry, however, the Beavers nine hits off starter Dakoyta Reninger.
“We can hit a good fastball,” Hogue said, “and when that kid’s just throwing it straight like that, we can attack it early.”
Tenino scored twice in the first, with a double from Jace Griffis, a run-scoring squeeze bunt by Coleson Chambers and an RBI single from Miles Cannon.
The Beavers’ four-run second inning was a bit more exciting. Two errors on a ground ball hit by Spencer Brewer helped two runs come across, and Griffis’ grounder back to the pitcher scored one more. Chambers closed it out with an RBI single.
They added a run in the fourth, when Logan Brewer reached on a single, moved to second on a bunt, took third on a ground-out by Jace Griffis that was appealed and reversed — though not until Rob Wall had been sent to first with an intentional walk. Wall went back to bat and on the first pitch Griffis took second on a wild pitch, after which Montesano opted to put Wall back on the unoccupied first bag.
Chambers then hit another RBI single, putting Tenino up 7-5.
Montesano closed the gap in the sixth, scoring when a pickoff attempt was thrown wide, and got three more in the sixth on a pair of walks and singles from Carson Klinger and Teegan Zillyett. Dakoyta Reninger added a solo home run in the seventh to cap the win.
Nick Chapman had three hits for the Bulldogs, while Zillyet, Klinger and Reninger had two each.
Chambers was 2 for 3 with three RBIs, and Logan Brewer was 2 for 3 for the Beavers.
The loss dropped the Beavers to 5-5 in Evergreen play, with a home doubleheader against Forks coming Tuesday to conclude the league season. Despite the outcome Hogue was pleased with the development of his team, which sits in second in the league standings.
“That was just a fun game, and I’m just happy that we’re just straight-up playing baseball,” Hogue said. “It’s nice to see.”
Note: Hogue lodged a formal protest in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Kloempken took the mound for Montesano. Kloempken was not listed on the Bulldogs’ lineup card.
“I could be wrong about the rule, but for me, if he’s not on the lineup card, it means he’s not coming into the game,” Hogue said.
The National Federation of State High School Associations’ baseball rulebook states, in Rule 1, Section 1, Article 2, that in reference to the lineup card — exchanged in the pregame meeting — “the name and shirt number of each eligible substitute should also be listed.”
Should the protest be upheld, the game would be replayed from the bottom of the fifth inning, at which point Tenino led 7-6.
BULLDOGS 10, BEAVERS 7
Montesano 032 013 1 — 10 12 6
Tenino 240 100 0 — 7 9 3
Batteries: Montesano — Dakoyta Reninger, Nate Kloempken (5) and Sawyer Rhoden; Tenino — Logan Brewer, Alex Bratton (4), Riley Wright (6) and Spencer Brewer