2B Baseball: Mules Make Hay Out of Napavine Miscues
FOURTH PLACE: Accomplished Senior Class Leaves Legacy Beyond the Trophy Case
By Jordan Nailon
To a man, the Tigers still believe that they should have been state champions this year, but that’s not the way the fickle cards fell. Particularly not in the Tigers’ 14-8 loss to familiar Wahkiakum on Saturday in the third/fourth place game of the State 2B baseball tournament.
In the end, Napavine coach Brian Demarest says the difference was likely a simple as hitting a cutoff man.
“We gave up too many free bases,” said Demarest. “Free bases were kind of our Achilles’ heel this year.”
Those free bases help to explain how a hard-hitting team like Napavine could wind up holding the short end of the stick in the midst of a good ol’ fashioned hitting contest with a less-seasoned Mule squad.
“All year our guys have done a really good job of hitting,” said Demarest. “Our seniors at the top of the lineup have hit as good as anyone in the state.”
To wit – after Napavine went down 3-0 in the top of the first inning the Tigers efficiently evened the score by getting leadoff man Mac Fagerness and Seth Butler on with a pair of walks, before Sam Fagerness got his hips into an ill-advised offering that wound up deposited well beyond the left field wall.
Sam Fagerness would finish the game with three hits and five RBIs.
Thanks to that type of effort Napavine was able to jump out to a 7-4 lead by the end of the third inning. Slowly but surely, though, the Mules climbed back into the game, plating runs in the fourth and fifth on sacrifice flies.
In the sixth inning they retook the lead with three runs on three hits and in the seventh put the game away with a five-run outburst that came on just three hits.
Dawson Stanley drove home his older brother, Wyatt, in the sixth for the Tigers’ final run, but by then it was too little, too late.
Although the loss stuck in the craw of the Tigers players who obviously expected a different outcome, coach Demarest was brimming with appreciation for the lasting contributions the senior class had made to the program. Aside from all the winning over the years, Demarest believes that the crop of seniors were unique in the example they set younger players to follow.
“Just to get to coach a group of guys like that is awesome,” said Demarest. “Without a doubt they’ve really benefited the program in ways that we’re probably going to see for three or four years down the line.”
That senior class includes Sam Fagerness, Mac Fagerness, Wyatt Stanley, Mason Butler and Seth Brossard.
Wahkiakum’s Zach Brown wound up with the pitching win after relieving Terris Record in the first inning. Brown pitched six innings and allowed three earned runs.
Mac Fagerness scored three runs for Napavine with a stolen base. Seth Butler added two more runs for Napavine with a trio of walks and Ben Woodrum had two hits. Wyatt Stanley, Dawson Stanley and Jordan Purvis registered a hit each for the Tigers.
MULES 14, TIGERS 8
Wahkiakum 310 123 5 — 14 10 3
Napavine 313 001 0 — 8 8 1
Batteries: Wahkiakum — Terris Record, Zach Brown (1), Record (7) and Hank Ferguson; Napavine — Mason Butler, Sam Fagerness (4), Garrett Shannon (7) and Sam Fagerness, Dawson Stanley (4)