History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.
Back on April 8, Montesano’s first loss of the season came in a doubleheader split with Naches Valley in a game where Monte miscues led to the Rangers’ 12-2 win.
In their meeting in the 1A State Tournament semifinals on Friday, history rhymed in the worst way possible for the Bulldogs.
Two errors and a balk in the bottom of the seventh inning erased what was a two-run lead as Naches Valley walked-off on Montesano 5-4 at Joe Martin Stadium in Bellingham, crushing the Bulldogs’ hopes of a state championship in the process.
Montesano (22-4 overall) took the early lead when first baseman John Kling singled with one out to drive in shortstop Bode Poler, who was on board with a leadoff single.
The top-seeded Rangers (24-2) responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third – one run on a wild pitch by Monte starting pitcher Cam Taylor followed by a run on a Porter Abrams fielder’s choice ground ball – to take a 2-1 lead.
With two outs and none on in the top of the fourth, outfielder Jackson Busz singled followed by Poler being hit by a pitch from Rangers starter Luke Jenkins. An error on a Kaleb Ames ground ball loaded the bases for second baseman Josh Wills, who drew a walk to force in the tying run.
Kling stepped to the plate and promptly doubled to right field, scoring Poler and Ames for a 4-2 Monte lead.
The game remained that way until Naches Valley rallied in the bottom of the seventh. Landin Clements led off with a single off Monte reliever Skylar Bove, who then walked Colton Rowe, putting the tying runs on base with no outs.
Ty Moore then singled to center to score Clements and make it a one-run game with the tying run on second base.
The Bulldogs caught a break when Logan Stevenson popped up to Wills at second base for the first out and then threw to catcher Denali Harris at home after Rowe was caught in a rundown off third. After a rundown, Rowe was out advancing to home for the second out as Moore raced to third on the play.
With Monte one out away from advancing to the state championship game, an error by Monte third baseman Jaxson Wilson on a ground ball by Abrams allowed Moore to score the tying run.
After an intentional walk to Jaden Zimmerman put runners on first and second, Wilson’s second error of the inning – this time on a ground ball by Simon Thompson – loaded the bases for Thane Denny.
With the count 0-2, Bove was called for a balk, allowing Zimmerman to come home with the winning run, handing Montesano the harsh 5-4 defeat.
“We played really good baseball for six innings,” Montesano head coach Mike Osgood said. “We had chance to end it but we just didn’t execute a throw. …The balk call on Skylar was tough. … I’ve watched the replay multiple times. Skylar didn’t do anything different than he did the previous two innings. I don’t agree with the call, but it’s an umpire’s decision that we have to accept.”
Bove took the loss for the Bulldogs, allowing three runs – one earned – on three hits, two walks and two strikeouts over 1 2-3 innings pitched.
Taylor went five innings for Monte, allowing two earned runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in the no-decision outing.
“Cam Taylor threw a great game,” Osgood said. “He’s been battling some arm issues the last couple weeks. He gave us a chance to win the game, we just couldn’t get the last out for him.”
Kling (2-3, 2B, 3 RBI), Poler (2-3, 2 R) and Busz (2-3, R) each had two hits in the game for the Bulldogs.
Montesano 100 300 0 — 4 7 2
Naches Valley 002 00 3 – 5 8 1
WP: Jenkins (7 IP, 4 R, ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 4 K). LP: Bove (1.2 IP, 3 R, ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 K).
Leading hitters: Montesano – Kling (2-3, 2B, 3 RBI); Poler (2-3, 2 R); Busz (2-3, R); Ames (1-4, R); Wills (0-3, RBI). NV – Moore (3-4, 2 R RBI, 2 SB); Abrams (1-4, R, RBI); Denny (1-3).