WF West baseball rally to edge Tumwater for South West District 2A title
Kolby Hansen hadn’t taken the ball off the field before going to plate with two strikeouts in the top of the seventh inning of Friday’s Southwest District Class 2A Championship baseball game at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.
In his batting precedent, the WF West High School designated main hitter watched a third strike called by Tumwater reliever Austin Sheldon.
With the score tied, 6-6, and Andrew Stafford on second, Hansen knew his team could use a little more of him.
“I wanted to drive the ball to the ground on the right side,” he said.
That’s exactly what he did, burning a Grounder between the first and second to send Stafford sprinting around the third. Stafford’s head first slide slipped the tag of Tumwater wide receiver Nate Kassler and WF West had the run it needed to win the district title, 7-6.
“I had the fast ball I was looking for,” said Hansen. “I thought he was going to be called, however, but I felt good when he was safe.”
It was a game of missed chances for both teams with Tumwater leaving the bases loaded after tying the game in the sixth on a one-out walk to Cody Whalen, and WF West totaling eight runners left on base.
“We hit the ball well,” said Tumwater coach Lyle Overbay. “We didn’t get the key results like they did. It’s baseball. Sometimes you hit hard and it doesn’t fall. It is not for lack of efforts on our part. “
Three of WF West’s stranded runners came out on top of the first when the Bearcats scored on a base-loaded march but didn’t do any additional damage.
Tumwater came off four points down the second, but WF West’s second second baseman Gavin Fugate reduced the margin to just one point with a two-point home run on opposite ground just in front of the inside the right field foul post in the next set. Blake Smith, starting the T-Birds.
“He was giving me speed stuff all the time and then he came up with a fastball on the outside,” Fugate said.
Fugate then led in a race to tie the game at 5-5 in fifth on a field single. After scoring just two innings previously, he showed bunt on the first two fields of Sheldon, who had just entered the game.
“I was just trying to get into the pitcher’s head, make him think we were doing something else,” he said.
Both teams had a tougher time than some might have imagined qualifying for the Championship game. The best in the district in most eyes, they were put to the test by opponents from 2A Greater Saint Helen’s League in the afternoon semi-finals.
Columbia River led most of the time and forced more innings before falling to the Bearcats, 5-4. Tumwater needed an absolute Washington State launching gem, hires Ryan Orr to overtake Washougal, 1-0. Orr gave up just three hits and struck out 13.
“He’s so solid with his location,” Overbay said. “It has a high speed and can mix it with the stopping speed. He’s a bulldog. He’s going to come after you and keep him in the zone and throw a lot of strikes.
“I hit my spots pretty well. I worked on my pitches at low speed during the offseason. It definitely helped this year, ”Orr said. “It was definitely one of the best games I’ve pitched this season.”
Overbay completed his first season as head coach of the T-Birds 16-3.
“I couldn’t have asked for more,” he said. “We had great leadership from the elders. It was a special year.
WF West coach Brian Bullock was also happy with the end of his squad.
“The competitiveness of our kids really stood out in this post-season atmosphere that was stolen from us for a while,” said Bullock, who must have watched the finish from afar after he and an assistant were kicked out. for disputing balls and strikes during a T-Birds rally.
“It was really nice to see that every time we were pushed and our backs against the wall, the competitiveness came out.
SOUTH-WEST DISTRICT 2A SOFTBALL
WF West 9, Rochester 1: After WF West’s Alisha Anderson watched her second-round Grand Slam carry the fence off center field, the joy in the senior’s face was undeniable.
Not only did the home run widen his team’s lead to seven in the Southwest District 2A title game, it was Anderson’s second of the day, after a three-point explosion allowed the Bearcats to win a district semi-final against Columbia River earlier Thursday afternoon in Chehalis. .
“I think she sprinted around, because she almost stoned someone,” WF West coach Caty Lieseke said with a laugh. “(It was) another one of those moments that I wish I had had on camera.”
WF West had faced 2A Evergreen Conference rivals Rochester twice in the regular season – both ending in wins at Bearcat, albeit by two points or less – but their victory on Thursday had a much better result. decisive.
After the Bearcats indulged in a rush of points early on, Lieseke’s side maintained their comfortable lead on the path to a convincing 9-1 victory.
The victory capped an unbeaten season for a team of just three players with previous college experience.
“To see a group of young children come together and take on what it means to be a part of the Bearcat fastpitch, it’s kind of surreal,” said Lieseke. “It’s really, really amazing to see a young group of kids doing this.”
Aside from Anderson’s slam that knocked the game out of control, WF West’s Saige Brindle recorded a first-inning brace that tackled two and finished 2-for-4 on the night.
Ace pitcher Kamy Dacus settled into the circle for the Bearcats, allowing a run in the first inning on a Staysha Fluetsch RBI single before ruling out the Warriors the rest of the way.
Dacus allowed one run on four hits while striking out 10 and walking one in a full set of seven innings on 98 pitches.
WF West was never behind after a three-run first set, and the Bearcats had five more in the second.
“It was definitely the best approach we’ve taken against (Rochester) all season,” said Lieseke. “We were more patient in the club and really took our time. The kids were given good pitches to hit, rather than swinging over things they shouldn’t. It was an advantage. The experience was an advantage.
SOUTH-WEST DISTRICT 2A BOY SOCCER
Tumwater 2, Columbia River 1: Brett Bartlett believes this season’s T-Birds may be the best boys’ team he’s coached, good enough to survive a lackluster league start to finish an unbeaten season (11-0-1) hoisting the District Trophy on Saturday at home on the turf at Tumwater District Stadium.
“We came out a bit flat at the start,” Bartlett said.
The Rapids took advantage, scoring in the 12th minute when Logan Simmons tapped the rebound after a shot from Elliott McCaffery to take a 1-0 lead. They no longer scored.
“We started clicking around the 25th minute,” Bartlett said.
A minute later, the T-Birds secured the equalizer.
Tumwater crossed a ball to Zack Schmidt on the left side. He once passed it past a Rapids defenseman and into a corner of the net.
In the 65th minute, Schmidt lined up for a corner kick and Tumwater recognized a chance to make one of his set pieces, designed to force the defense to pick a side to score Ta-Kashi Neilson on the line. goal, then get him the ball to the other side. It worked and Neilson scored the deciding goal from close range.
Bartlett believes the inconvenience caused by a season delayed by a pandemic brought Tumwater’s Spring 2021 team together like no team has come before.
“Nothing was guaranteed,” he said. “We were just happy to play. They were very flexible and were never too high or too low. “
2A SOUTH-WEST DISTRICT TRACK AND FIELD
Tumwater senior Noah Cunningham won the 100 meters (personal best 11.08 seconds) and long jump (21-5) at the 2A Southwest District Track and Field Championships Thursday at Fishback Stadium in Washougal.
Tumwater junior Alyssa Duncan won the long jump (personal best 17-0 1/2) and the triple jump (35-5 3/4).
Editors Lauren Smith and Tyler Wicke contributed to this report.