The third time was not a charm for the Timberline Blazers on Saturday.
Relief pitcher Ty Carlton, who worked out of two bases-loaded jams in the Blazers’ semifinal victory in the morning, came in with the bases loaded again in the third inning of the evening game at Auburn Mountainview High School.
Same situation, different result.
After getting the second out on a force at home, Carlton could not get a third strike past Kelso’s left-handed-hitting Alex McCormick, who blasted a grand slam to break open a tie game.
The Hilanders went on to win, 7-4, to claim the West Central/Southwest bi-district championship and its No. 1 seed to the state Class 3A tournament.
“With these good teams, we’ve got to limit those things,” said Timberline coach Derek Weldon. “Good teams are going to hurt you in those situations.”
The spoils for the victors, besides the district championship, include a first-round game in Centralia. Second-seeded Timberline will open state play Saturday at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue.
In the fateful third, Kelso loaded the bases against Timberline starter Josiah Julagay on a double by Nate Grumbois, a single by Tyson Johnson and a hit batter. In came Carlton, and one out later, he worked McCormick to a 2-2 count before the Kelso first baseman turned on a fastball.
Kelso flashed its power potential early on Slate Miller’s first-inning two-run home run.
Timberline countered with a run in the second when an error on Brennon Kaleiwahea’s infield grounder allowed Ryan Tydingco, who had led off with a single, to score.
The Hilanders got another in the second on an RBI double by Taylor Radcliffe.
The Blazers tied it at 3-3 in the third on RBI singles by Tydingco and Charlie Hinson, the latter on a bunt when no Hilander covered first base.
After the McCormick blast, the Blazers were denied a run in the fourth when Hilander right fielder Johnson threw out Justace Buhl trying to score on a single by Rick Ahlf.
The Blazers picked up their final run in the fifth when Tydingco doubled and came in on a double by Hinson.
Tydingco went 3-for-4 in both games to lead the Blazers’ attack.
Timberline 8, Columbia River 1: In the morning semifinal, Tydingco hit a two-run homer in the first inning to get the Blazers rolling, and he also earned the win on the mound as Timberline topped Columbia River.
Tydingco walked six and allowed four hits in 4 innings, but the Blazers turned three double plays behind him to stifle the Chieftains’ threats.
Carlton came on in relief in the fifth with the bases loaded, and induced two pop-ups to get out of the inning. In the sixth, the Chieftains loaded the bases again, but Carlton struck out Michael McCann to get out of trouble.