Prep baseball: Tumwater's Thompson puts together all-around performance in victory


ROCHESTER – He didn’t allow a hit on the mound. He was a key cog at the top of the lineup for Tumwater High school’s baseball team. He made one of the better defensive plays of its season.

Derek Thompson had his fingerprints all over the Thunderbirds 9-1 victory over Rochester on Wednesday night to complete a two-game sweep in Evergreen Conference action at Rochester High School.

“Felt good out there,” Thompson said.

The right-hander went four innings on the mound, striking out three and dancing around four walks. Command of his pitches has been the biggest point of emphasis this season.

Coach Lyle Overbay stated last year, those walks would have snowballed into runs. Now, Thompson is getting himself out of jams.

“That’s the part he is growing and learning,” Overbay said. “He’s got great stuff. He’s doing mechanical stuff that he’s putting himself in a good spot.”

Rochester (3-6, 1-4 EvCo) loaded the bases in the fourth on two walks and a hit by pitch trailing 6-0. Thompson threw one pitch to Henry Gramelspacher that he lined out to second base and the shutout remained intact.

Prior to that, the Warriors had three runners reach base.

“We haven’t hit very well with guys in scoring position all year long,” Rochester head coach Brad Quarnstrom said. “We did a much better job putting the ball in play; we didn’t square up enough balls.”

The play of the game came in the bottom of the third.

Tumwater caught Tyler Huston in a pickle between second and third and tagged him out, then the throw to first base went to the fence. Tayden Martin rounded second to an open third base bag.

Thompson had the ball in his glove, raced to third, dove and tagged Martin out for a wild sequence of events.

“I hear three and I look left, no one is there and I saw him take off,” Thompson said. “It honestly reminded me of football. That was kind of (a) shock.”

“It is fun to watch,” Overbay added.

Already up 5-0 behind three runs in the first and two more in the second, the Thunderbirds added one in the fourth, two in the fifth and the final run in the sixth. Thompson, Eddie Marson, Jimmy Womach and Landon Roy all registered two hits at the plate.

Thompson ended the night with four runs batted in while Peyton Davis and Charlie Crawford crossed home two times each.

“That was one of the main things we’ve been working on is having quality at-bats,” Thompson said. “When you get deep in counts, the pitcher gets flustered a little bit and kind of gives you confidence as a batter. It has been beneficial.”

Overbay feels the identity of the reigning Class 2A state champions is coming to fruition as it gets ready to face Black Hills in a non-league game on Friday. 

Sitting at 10-3 and 8-0 in the league plus on a five-game winning streak, he feels the Thunderbirds have figured out what makes them tick.

“We’re sticking to our strengths,” Overbay said. “We throw strikes, we’re gonna get outs and we’re going to be very successful, but the aggressiveness is what we’re doing very well with.”

Rochester avoided the shutout with an RBI single off the bat of Hayden Pietras. The Warriors will try and regroup against Aberdeen on Friday night.

“I do believe that we’re going to play our best baseball in the weeks to come,” Quarnstrom said.