TACOMA — Taking its longtime, but now somewhat dormant rivalry up Interstate 5 and far away from home, the Rochester baseball team took advantage of 14 Tenino walks and another four errors in a 11-7 win in the Scatter Creek Showdown Saturday afternoon at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.
The home of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers was probably the only baseball or softball event in the state that could house a matchup featuring the weather Saturday’s game had, with hard rain falling at times, driving up pitch counts and leading to 22 total walks between the squads in seven innings.
While both starting pitchers got off to a cold start in the downpour, the Warriors adjusted quicker to the conditions on the mound.
“The field held up well, the ball was just getting really slimy,” Warriors coach Brad Quarnstrom said.
The Warriors struck first in the top of the opening inning, dropping a run after a pair of base hits from Tate Quarnstrom and Braden Hartley. After that, Rochester managed just one hit for the rest of the game as hits dried up throughout the game.
The Beavers struck back for four runs in the bottom of the first and scored another in the fifth to build up a 5-1 lead, but then the walks began to mount up.
The Beavers walked the Warriors 14 times, and though Rochester had a hard time getting hits at the plate, they took and took and took on pitches, scoring eight runs combined over the fourth and fifth innings to take a dominant lead they would never relinquish after a scoreless sixth and seventh.
“I thought we were going to hit the ball better when we got two hits right away to start the game and then that petered out,” Quarnstrom said. “We were able to get baserunners in and put pressure on them. That’s the key thing, you have to get baserunners first and then you can start to put pressure on them.”
The Warriors, meanwhile, settled in on the mound. Hyde Parrish stepped in from the pen and pitched three innings, walking just two and giving up two earned runs and Jyson O’Connor closed the door in the sixth and seventh, striking out four in two innings with just one walk in seven at-bats.
Mason Ubias led the way at the plate at leadoff, drawing two walks and scoring three runs, and Hayden Pietras hit a double that scored two runs in the fifth that opened up a big lead.
Though Tenino got off to a hot start, and looked settled in at the Triple-A ballpark early on, the mounting walks and a couple of untimely errors were too much to overcome.
“It’s tough when you walk 14 guys,” Tenino coach Ryan Schlesser said. “I told the guys that we just need to learn, especially with our energy, it felt like we weren’t here today. We need to figure that out, learn from it and grow and hopefully we can turn it into a positive for later in the year.”
The Beavers tossed five pitchers on the mound, with Cody Strawn earning the start and pitching three innings with one earned run on two hits and five walks. Jack Burkhardt had a strong finish, pitching a scoreless seventh with a strikeout.
At the dish, Kellan Knox mashed a home run over the left field fence to give the Beavers a brief lead in the fourth, and Will Feltus scored a pair of runs at leadoff.
For both teams — which admitted that the once fierce Scatter Creek Showdown has gotten much friendlier over the last several years due to Rochester playing in Class 2A and Tenino playing in 1A in separate leagues — Saturday’s contest was a chance to play in a Triple-A ballpark and get warmed back up league games that resume late next week.
“That’s why we want to play them, they’re solid,” Schlesser said. “We want to see that level of pitching because that’s the higher-level pitching we’ll see later in the year and in league play.”
Both teams will head east next week, with Rochester taking on reigning state fourth-place finisher Ellensburg on Tuesday while Tenino plays a doubleheader against Colville on the road.