Adna outlasts Napavine to advance to district title game

Pirates get second consecutive walk-off win


ADNA — Beau Miller was having a solid game through six innings in Adna’s district semifinal against Napavine. 

He had made a few plays in the field, collected three hits, and scored a run. All of that was put on the backburner in the seventh, however, as Miller was put on the mound in a one-run game. 

An unearned run came across to tie the game, but Miller came to the plate with a chance to win it in the bottom half.

The freshman’s fourth hit of the game was the biggest, as Miller hit a walk-off single that gave the Pirates a 10-9 win, one that propels them into the district title game and puts them back in the state tournament for the second year in a row.

“After I saw those two curveballs, I just choked up a little bit,” Miller said. “It got down and was enough to get Tristan (Percival) around from second.”

Miller originally wasn’t supposed to pitch the seventh, but Overbay turned to him after clearing up some substitution issues with the umpire.

“To not only clutch up, but to be a freshman and to embrace that role. It was huge,” Adna coach Jake Overbay said. “Beau really stepped up.”

The semifinal followed a similar script to Adna’s win over Kalama in the quarterfinals, as the Pirates (19-3) took the lead early only to relinquish it, but bounced back to win the game in their final at-bat.

It was almost all Adna in the first four innings, as the Pirates took advantage of errors, walks, and hit batters to take an 8-2 lead.

“You can’t give good teams extra outs," Napavine coach Brian Demarest said. “And we gave them at least five extra outs today.”

Napavine (18-4) began chipping away in the fifth. Conner Holmes brought home a run on a double, and he scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly from Jack Nelson.

In the sixth, the first three Tigers reached base to open the inning. A wild pitch, groundout, and single later, Napavine was within one.

Ashton Demarest broke for third, the throw from the catcher sailed high, and Demarest raced home. Just like that, the game was tied at eight.

“We had zero quit in us today,” Demarest said. “I’m proud as hell of the way we played … I love the way our kids competed.”

An Owen Fagernes RBI double gave the Pirates the lead right back in the bottom of the sixth, but the Tigers responded again in the top of the seventh with a run to tie the game at nine.

Tristan Percival drew a four-pitch walk with one out, and Danner Hoinowski singled to set up Miller’s walk-off knock.

“Being the higher seed and the home team with the advantage is just such a crucial position to be in,” Overbay said. “ It gives us that last opportunity to fight, and it means that the fight’s not over.”

While out of the running for a district title, Napavine will still have another chance to punch its ticket to state. The Tigers will face Toledo at Adna on Thursday. Ashton Demarest, who has posted an ERA of 0.88 this season, will get the start on the mound.

“We knew going into this we had to win one game,” coach Demarest said. “We feel really good about going into Thursday with our guy. That’s the guy you want up there.”

Adna, on the other end, has clinched a state tournament berth for the second year in a row. The Pirates made it all the way to the state title game last spring, and Overbay, who is in his first year at Adna, said that getting back to state was his top priority.

“Just to even get near that realm again, that was my goal,” Overbay said.

First, the Pirates will turn their attention to a familiar foe in the district championship game. Toutle Lake handled Ilwaco in the first semifinal on Tuesday, and Zach Swanson should be ready to get the ball for the Ducks on Friday.

Last spring, Toutle Lake topped Adna in the district semifinals, but the Pirates got their revenge in the state semifinals during their run to the state championship game. 

While getting to Swanson will be a tall task, Miller and the rest of the Pirates feel they’re up to the challenge.

“We just need to keep battling,” Miller said. “It feels a lot like last year already.”