Fagernes, Percival propel Pirates into district semifinals

Walk-off Winner: Adna tops Kalama in extras


ADNA — Adna coach Jake Overbay compared postseason baseball to March Madness.

“Anything can happen at any time,” Overbay said.

Kalama came into Adna looking for an upset on Friday, but the top-seeded Pirates did enough to survive and advance into the district semifinals, as Owen Fagernes delivered a walk-off single to give Adna a 4-3 extra-inning win.

“It was a grind,” Overbay said. “These guys know how to compete, and they know how to deal with championship-level baseball.”

A win in the district semis against Napavine would send the Pirates back to the state tournament for the second year in a row.

It wasn’t the smoothest outing for the Pirates, who were mostly held in check offensively throughout.

Fagernes delivered when it mattered most, however, sending a liner to left field to bring home the game-winning run. It was his third hit of the night, and it’s the first time this season that he has collected three hits in a game.

As recently as last week, Fagernes was hitting below the Mendoza Line. He has since settled in at the plate, going 6 for 10 in his last three games and raising his batting average from .188 to .259.

“I’ve been in a slump pretty much the whole season,” Fagernes said. “It feels great to finally get out of it. Especially in districts.”

Overbay said that the focus for Fagernes has been on relaxing and settling in when in the box, and he’s happy that he’s finding his stride at the right time.

“Postseason baseball is where it all changes,” Overbay said. “We’ve seen him in the last few games and the last few series really start to open up and show his true swing again. Which is good, because he’s a crucial part of our lineup.”

While the Pirate offense went through its mid-game lull, Tristian Percival did all he could on the mound to keep the Kalama offense at bay.

After giving up a leadoff single, Percival retired 12 straight batters, and it seemed as though the Chinooks wouldn’t be able to muster a rally.

Kalama turned to small ball to light a spark, laying down two bunt singles after a leadoff walk in the fifth to load the bases with no one out.

“Defensively, we were not ready for the bunts today,” Overbay said. “They attacked us and exploited us there.”

Percival was able to strike out the next two batters he faced, but Kalama’s Connor Darnell ripped a two-out, three-run double into the left-center field gap to tie the game at three.

Percival was able to escape the fifth with the tie intact, and he pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh to give the Adna offense a chance.

He finished with 99 pitches, allowing five hits and three earned runs while walking two and striking out a dozen.

“On or off, he’s always gonna compete to the best of his ability,” Overbay said. “As long as you know he’s out there, he’s gonna give it his best until it’s not there anymore. But as long as he’s on, you just let him roll and do his thing.”

Overbay went to Cameron Nakano in the eighth, and though he hit one batter and walked two more, he was able to escape the jam thanks to a diving grab in foul territory by Beau Miller.

Fagernes ended the game shortly after, and as he was mobbed by his teammates down the first-base line, he could do nothing but smile.

“It’s what’s so much fun about baseball,” Fagernes said. “We pulled it together in the end.”

Adna will host the district semifinals on Monday, including the Pirates’ matchup against Napavine.