1A Baseball: Rough Start Leads to First-Round Loss for Beavers
DISTRICTS: Tenino Falls 8-6 to La Center, Plays Elma Tuesday in Loser-Out Game
By Aaron VanTuyl
ROCHESTER — The biggest early-season issue in for Tenino was, as coach Conner Hogue pointed out on several occasions, just one bad inning.
That old thorn in the Beavers’ pelts reared its head early here Monday, helping La Center stake an early 4-0 lead en route to an 8-6 win in the first round of the District 4 1A Baseball Tournament.
Two walks, two struck batters and a trio of errors helped the Wildcats push across four runs without the benefit of a hit in the top half of the opening frame — a near-perfect example of that one-bad-inning habit.
“Except this time it happened in the beginning, instead of the end,” Hogue said. “It just is what it is. We know the kids can play, and they know they can play. The fact is we just gotta go get it done.”
The loss drops Tenino (7-10) into a loser-out game on Tuesday against Elma, back at Rochester’s Heinz Field.
“At this point, it’s loser-out. Your back’s against the wall,” Hogue said. “Whichever team wants to fight until the end and not give up are the teams that are gonna advance.”
La Center pitcher Clint Smith was in control through the first four innings, using just 46 pitches and giving up two hits with a walk.
“I think we had opportunities to grasp (the momentum) early, and we didn’t,” Hogue said. “Credit their pitcher. Clint pitched a fantastic game for those guys. He threw a ton of strikes and made us earn it.”
The Beavers finally got on board in the fifth when, with two outs, brothers Logan and Spencer Brewer singled. Logan then scored from second on an errant pickoff attempt — the Wildcats’ only error of the game. Riley Wright then doubled to left field to score Spencer.
Coulson Chambers singled the lead off the sixth and came home on a grounder to third from Cameron Heay, but La Center got a run in the top of the seventh when a high pop up dropped in the infield for a hit.
Tenino, though, made it interesting, despite going into the bottom of the seventh down 8-3. A one-out triple from Spencer Brewer started the rally, and a hit batter set the plate for Rob Wall, who knocked across two runs with a double.
Chambers then hit a long sacrifice fly to score Wall, though a pop-fly then ended the game.
Seven of the Beavers’ nine hits came in the final three innings, which Hogue credited to a few adjustments at the plate that came just a bit too late.
“We happy to battle back, but it just kind of stinks, with our defense today,” he added. “It just wasn’t where it should have been.”
Logan Brewer came on in relief with one out in the first inning and worked into the seventh, striking out five and allowing six hits and three runs.
Smith tossed a complete game for La Center, fanning six, walking one and hitting one.
Note: Elma lost to 1A Trico champion King’s Way Christian, 11-1, on Monday. The Trico league swept the first round, with White Salmon beating Montesano 7-3 and Castle Rock edging Hoquiam 4-3. Castle Rock plays White Salmon, and La Center plays King’s Way Christian, on Tuesday in Castle Rock.
WILDCATS 8, BEAVERS 6
La Center 402 001 1 — 8 9 1
Tenino 000 021 3 — 6 9 3
Batteries: La Center — Clint Smith and Hayden Williamson; Tenino — Miles Cannon, Logan Brewer (1), Riley Wright (7) and Spencer Brewer