Hoquiam played the gracious host in its first home baseball game of the season Friday afternoon, but may have done too good of a job against Montesano.
Five Montesano runs were unearned on four Hoquiam errors, with three of the errors coming in a four-run fifth inning, in the Bulldogs’ 10-1 Evergreen 1A League win at Olympic Stadium.
Nate Kloempken threw five solid innings for the Bulldogs (3-0, 7-1) for the win. Kyle Larsen took the loss for the Grizzlies (2-1, 5-3-1).
“Any time you can beat Hoquiam, you feel good; they’re a good club,” Montesano head coach Mike Osgood said. “We were able to create some opportunities, but I think both teams can say that they gave stuff away. It was one of those days to come away with the victory.”
“We just talked about mental toughness; we had a 1-0 lead and hit Nate hard … we just didn’t make the routine plays,” HHS head coach Steve Jump said. “That was some of the worst defense we’ve played in a long time. I hope we can learn from this loss.”
Hoquiam knew exactly what it wanted to do at the plate against Montesano’s ace Kloempken — get aggressive and stay aggressive. The Grizzlies put the ball into play and made the Bulldogs work hard on defense.
Sean McAllister got the first run of the game on a two-out seeing-eye grounder up the middle in the first inning for the hosts.
Kloempken, however, stayed cool and got out of jams in the second, fourth and fifth innings to keep Hoquiam off the scoreboard. The senior finished with six strikeouts and three walks.
“Hoquiam is a good team — they have a lot of guys there who can swing the bat,” Osgood said. “I haven’t seen that much contact on the ball like that against Kloempken in a long time. Nate pitched well, and Peyton Parker threw well in relief.”
For Montesano, it tied the game on a passed ball in the second inning and Carson Klinger’s two-out, two-run single capped a three-run third for a 4-1 lead.
The game turned for the visitors for good in the fourth. Against Hoquiam relief pitcher Garrett Bradley, Montesano scored three runs on three infield errors, plus added a fourth on a dropped third strike for an insurmountable 8-1 margin.
“Again, it comes down to mental toughness,” Jump added. “We beat ourselves tonight. Montesano is a good team, but we put them in a position to do a lot of damage.”
Monte capped the contest when reserve Aaron Lano delivered a two-out, two-run single up the middle in the seventh.
On April 6, Montesano returns to action at Rochester. On April 10, Hoquiam is back on the field at Forks.
Montesano 013 040 2 — 10 5 1
Hoquiam 100 000 0 — 1 6 4
Kloempken, Parker (6) and Trout, Plato (5); Larsen, Bradley (4), Folkers (7) and Folkers, McMinn (7).
RBI: Montesano — Lano 2, Olsen, Klinger 2. Hoquiam — McAllister.
Winning pitcher — Kloempken (six strikeouts, three walks). Losing pitcher — Larsen (two strikeouts, four walks).