ADNA — The Tigers entered regionals on a hot streak, and Colfax’s J.P. Wigen cooled them off.
Wigen, a lanky sophomore, stymied Napavine’s offense for 6 ⅓ innings here Saturday in the opening round of the 2B regional playoffs, leading the Bulldogs to a 10-5 win and eliminating the No. 4 seed Tigers.
“I thought he did a fantastic job,” Napavine coach Brian Demarest said, explaining that the Tigers had expected to face hard-throwing Colfax lefty Alex Mortensen. “All week we were kind of gearing up for that, and he came in with a bunch of off-speed stuff, and really got us off balance. I thought it was a great move.”
Wigen gave up just one infield single and struck out six to record the win.
All five of the Tigers’ runs came in with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning — directly after Wigen hit the 105-pitch limit and exited the game. With two outs and the bases loaded, Ashtin Landry hit a two-run single and Austin Chapman followed it up with a bases-clearing triple down the right-field line. Scott Burdick followed up with an RBI single to make it 10-5 before J.D. Peterson, brought in on relief of Wigen, got a ground-out that ended the game.
The loss was a learning experience for the young players on the roster, Demarest noted.
“We came out and we played really tight. We were tense, and we played like we were afraid of something in this,” he said. “We’ve been playing really loose, and we came out and we were tight. We got behind in counts, and we booted the ball around, and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves.”
Colfax got two runs in the first on a pair of bases-loaded walks and added two more in the third on a two-out error. The bulk of their offense, however, came in the sixth inning. Mason Gilchrist and Alex Mortensen each hit two-run doubles before a dropped fly ball in the outfield allowed another run to score, pushing the lead to 9-0.
Gilchrist hit another double in the seventh inning and came around to score on an error.
It was the final game for seniors Gavin Parker, Landry and Burdick.
“They’re the reason we got on this hot streak to begin with,” Demarest said. “They decided they wanted to play a certain way, and the younger kids followed, so I really appreciated that from them. We wouldn’t be here without them.”
Napavine finished the season with a 15-6 record, placing sixth in the Central 2B League before heating up and winning the District 4 championship — highlighted by a 4-3 title-game victory over Toutle Lake.
“We made it a lot farther than people thought we were going to make it,” Demarest said. “I don’t like the way we ended today, because I don’t feel like we played very well, but I liked the way we ended the season. We got on a hot streak and we played good team baseball.”