Pe Ell-Willapa Valley may have faltered in game two of Friday’s home doubleheader with Forks, falling 15-1. But it was the Titans’ 3-2 victory in game one that was the most crucial.
Nabbing one of the two games moved the Titans into a three-way tie with Forks and Ocosta for the 2B Pacific League’s No. 1 seed heading into districts. A win over North Beach on Tuesday would ensure the Titans remain in contention for that three-way tie, which has not yet been determined how it will be decided.
“The first game was such a big game,” PWV skipper Kelly Barnum said. “The kids going in knew they had to play exceptional baseball — and we did.
The Titans played nearly flawless until the seventh inning. Gavin Hampton smashed a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth to put the Titans up 2-0 on the Spartans, then drove in another run in the bottom of the sixth for a three-run cushion. It’s a good thing, too, because they needed it.
Forks rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh but Hampton was able to escape disaster on the mound in relief to secure the 3-2 victory. Hampton finished with two hits and three RBIs. Each team collected four hits.
PWV sophomore ace Garrett Keeton was electric on the mound as the starter, striking out 11 in 6.2 innings of work.
“He was just a stud on the mound today,” Barnum said. “He had them off balance the entire day.”
Game two was the opposite for the Titans with Keeton reaching his pitch count. The Titans committed 10 errors and surrendered 11 hits to Forks in a 15-1 defeat.
Hampton finished with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings on the mound, while freshman Aiden Young tossed two innings.
“On an 80-degree day, after succeeding in accomplishing our mission, we just struggled to catch the baseball,” Barnum said. “It’s the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of PWV baseball.”
Now the Titans (6-3 overall, 6-2 league) need to take care of business against North Beach at home Tuesday in the Titans’ league finale. A win against the Hyaks would keep the Titans in a three-way tie for first place, which could be decided by a coin flip.
Tanner Vaughn and Logan Moore combined to eight strikeouts and allowed just two hits in an 11-1 win over Rochester at home Friday, pushing the undefeated Bearcats’ win streak to eight games this season.
The Bearcats also extended their ridiculous unbeaten streak in 2A Evergreen Conference play with the victory, winning their 49th consecutive league match. The last league game they lost was in 2017.
“We approach everything one game at a time,” W.F. West coach Bryan Bullock said.
W.F West (8-0) tallied 13 hits on the day and eight of the nine players collected at least one hit. The Bearcats were led by Vaughn’s 3-for-3 performance at the plate, which included a run scored and an RBI.
“We had really good appearances at the plate, up and down the lineup,” Bullock said.
Brock Bunker went 2-for-3 with three runs scored, while Brit Lusk was also 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Sophomore Gavin Fugate was 1-for-2, scoring twice and driving in three runs.
On the mound, Vaughn threw a perfect game through two innings, fanning five of the six batters he faced. Moore went three innings, striking out three, walking four and allowing one earned run.
Kyle Wilson went 3.1 innings for the Warriors, striking out one while allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits. Reed Mason pitched the final ⅔ of the game, striking out one and allowing three earned runs on three hits.
Wilson and Cody Morton had the only two hits on the day for Rochester.
The Warriors fall to 4-5 overall and host Tumwater on Monday. W.F. West travels to Tumwater on Wednesday.
Senior catcher Cam Erickson took to the mound for the first time since the Tigers’ season opener and pitched a two-hit shutout to help Centralia to an 11-0 road win over Aberdeen Friday.
Erickson went all five innings, striking out two and allowing zero walks.
“Our defense played really well behind him,” Centralia coach Adam Riffe said. “He threw a lot of flyball outs. He has a good mound presence.”
Erickson, Benito Valencia and Moshie Eport each collected two hits at the plate and the Tigers, which tallied nine total hits, used a seven-run second inning to pull away from the Bobcats.
“We saw their No. 1 (pitcher) and made some adjustments from our last game against Tumwater,” Riffe said.
Centralia improves to 5-3 overall and hosts Shelton on Monday.
Tenino found itself in an early hole and couldn’t climb back out, taking a 13-3 loss to Hoquiam in six innings on the road Friday at Olympic Stadium.
Drew Hart surrendered six earned runs on five hits in two innings on the mound for Tenino, while Ethan Snider struck out two and allowed three earned runs in four innings.
“We put (Snider) in a tough spot,” Tenino coach Ryan Schlesser said. “We were down early and he battled.”
Snider was 2-for-4 at the plate, while Hart was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Carson Hart and Keagan Hill scored the other two runs for the Beavers. But it was errors on defense that ultimately doomed Tenino.
“We’re not doing ourselves any favors,” Schlesser said. “We’re shooting ourselves in the foot. A lot of mental mistakes.”
Tenino drops to 0-6 overall and hosts Hoquiam in a doubleheader starting at noon on Saturday.