The Montesano Bulldogs and Elma Eagles did East County baseball fans proud on Monday, May 9.
Both the 1A Evergreen League champion Bulldogs and third-place Eagles earned victories in the first round of the 1A District 4 Tournament, with Montesano dispatching of Columbia-White Salmon and Elma upsetting the Trico League’s second-place team, King’s Way Christian.
Montesano 13, Columbia-White Salmon 2
Montesano, the 1A Evergreen League’s No. 1 seed, did what league champions are expected to do in a first-round playoff game.
Montesano scored runs early, played solid defense and got quality innings from its pitching staff en route to a convincing 13-2 five-inning victory over Columbia-White Salmon on Monday at Olympic Stadium in Hoquiam.
The Bulld0gs (16-5 overall) took the lead in the bottom of the first inning on RBI singles by Jackson Busz and Isaac Pierce to go up 2-0.
In the third inning, the floodgates opened.
Montesano scored 11 runs in the frame, with Josh Wills, John Kling and Denali Harris driving in runs with singles, followed by a three-run triple off the bat of infielder Bode Poler and an RBI double by Isaiah Pierce to put the Bulldogs up 11-0.
After Isaiah Pierce scored on a wild pitch, Kling drove in Jaxson Wilson for his second RBI single of the frame.
“Once you get ahead at the high school level, everybody relaxes a little bit more,” Montesano head coach Mike Osgood said. “Just getting out and scoring some runs let the kids play a little free. Sometimes in playoff situations things can get a little tense, so (scoring runs early) is a big thing and we did that.”
The early runs were also key for the Montesano pitching staff, most notably ace senior starter Isaac Pierce. The right-hander picked up the win on Monday, scattering two hits in four scoreless innings of work.
Due to a relatively low pitch count for Pierce and the game ending in five innings, a minimum amount of rest will be required for the Bulldogs pitching staff, based on WIAA pitch-count rules.
“We wanted to get Isaac as much rest as possible and throw as few pitches as possible,” said Osgood of his starter, who threw 47 pitches, 28 for strikes. “We told the guys, ‘Let’s get some runs early so we can pull him a little early. That way, he will come back a little more fresh as we move through the tournament.’”
Montesano’s defense played error-free baseball, with Osgood noting infielders Bode Poler and Jackson Busz and outfielders Kaleb Ames and Isaiah Pierce for making plays behind the pitching staff.
“I think the big thing today was our defense,” he said. “I don’t think we made a miscue on defense all day.”
CWS (7-13) loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth against reliever Tyler Johansen, who entered in relief of Isaac Pierce.
Johansen was replaced by relief pitcher Skylar Bove after giving up an RBI single to Bruins outfielder Wyatt Stelma.
Bove proceeded to strike out Garrett Kock, got Wesley White to ground into a run-scoring fielder’s choice, and ended the game when he got Bryson Sauter to line out to Busz at third.
“Since last week, we talked to our pitchers about working ahead in counts and trying to stay ahead,” Osgood said. “That was the key — get ahead and keep that pitch count down — and that’s what we did.”
CWS 000 02 — 2 3 2
Montesano 20(11) 0x — 13 11 0
CWS — Stelma (1-2, RBI), Haskell (1-1), Roth (1-2), W. White (0-3, RBI). LP – Sauter (2.2 IP, 10H, 13R, 8ER, K, 4BB).
Montesano — Poler (2-3, 3B, 2R, 3RBIs), Isaiah Pierce (2-3, 2B, 2R, RBI), Isaac Pierce (2-2, R, RBI), Kling (2-3, R, 2RBIs), Z. Ames (1-1, R, RBI), Harris (1-1, R, RBI), Busz (1-2, 2R, RBI). WP – Isaac Pierce (4 IP, 2H, 0R, 2K).
Elma 5, King’s Way Christian 1
Entering the 1A District 4 playoffs, the King’s Way Christian Knights had the best overall record (17-4) and highest WIAA RPI ranking (ninth) of any team in the tournament.
Someone forgot to tell the Elma Eagles.
Like an underdog slugging the heavyweight champ in the mouth, the Eagles got a big boost from a big blast early and stellar pitching en route to a 5-1 upset win over the Knights in a 1A District 4 first round game on Monday at Castle Rock High School.
Elma (8-10) jumped on the Knights early when Blake Corr smacked a one-out double in the top of the first and was followed by a JT Tiffany shot to left field for a two-run home run to land the first blow.
“We rode this momentum the rest of the game,” Elma head coach Travis Vessey said of Tiffany’s haymaker. “The guys were really swinging it tonight and we limited our strikeouts at the plate.”
Elma would tack on an insurance run in both the third and fourth innings on an RBI single by Grant Vessey and a Corr sacrifice fly, respectively.
While the Eagles offense was scoring, Elma starting pitcher Gibson Cain was dealing.
The right-hander sparkled, holding the Knights to no runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched.
Cain gave way to Ethan Camus after allowing a leadoff walk to Andrew Peru followed by a pop out by Ben Garl in the sixth.
Camus worked out of a two-on, one-out situation by getting a ground-ball out, followed by striking out Jace Barnes to end the frame.
In the seventh, KWC threatened by loading the bases with one out. But Camus got Peru on an RBI sac fly to Cain in center and struck out Garl to end the game.
“Great night for the Eagles,” Coach Vessey said. “Cain and Camus were both great on the mound for us.”
Elma 201 101 0 — 5 12 1
KWC 000 00 1 — 1 6 1
Elma — Tiffany (2-3, HR, R, 3RBIs), Corr (2-3, 2B, 2R), Hackney (2-4), Cain (2-3), Vessey (1-4, RBI), Alexander (2-4, R), Camus (1-1). WP – Cain (5.1 IP, 4H, 0R, 4K, 4BB).
KWC — Geisen (2-3, 2B), Whitney (1-4, R), Pisarczyk (1-3), Gilligan (1-2), Somarakis (1-3). LP – Tamoski (6 IP, 11H, 5R, 3ER, 3K).
1B District 4 Tournament
Mossyrock 12, Lake Quinault 2 (Lake Quinault eliminated)