Christian Parsons said four words kept repeating in his head before his start for the Sumner High School baseball team Tuesday in Buckley.
“We need to win.”
If the Spartans hoped to keep alive their shot at their first 2A South Puget Sound League title since 1985, they had to.
So the 5-foot-6, 125-pound right-handed senior pitched a masterpiece.
After 128 pitches Parsons had thrown 10 innings, allowed no runs and struck out 13 to power No. 1 Sumner to a 2-0 victory against No. 4 White River.
“I don’t think Sumner High School has ever seen a guy like him,” Sumner coach Casey Adcox said.
The Spartans (16-1 overall, 12-1 2A SPSL) broke the scoreless tie in the top of the 10th inning with Chase Torgison’s double over center fielder Dustin France’s head to score Tysen Fischlin from second. Luc Powers-Hubbard added an insurance run two batters later with a double.
Those were the only runs scored despite both teams entering the matchup averaging almost 10 runs a game.
White River had outscored opponents 137-6 during its 13-game win streak, including 41-0 the past four games.
Adcox didn’t second-guess sending Parsons out for one more inning, even with his pitch count soaring past 100.
That’s because the more innings Parsons threw, the more he’d grind his teeth and more tough he became to hit.
He allowed five hits over the first six innings, but one over the next four.
“My teeth were starting to hurt at the end from grinding them so much,” said Parsons, who will play at Lower Columbia College next season. “I was starting to get a little mad.
“But I’ve just always been like that. Seems like those late innings, fifth and up, I start to come alive. I don’t know why that is.”
White River coach Michael Williams said his team hadn’t faced a pitcher this season as good as Parsons.
“He’s just a little bulldog,” Williams said. “To go 10 innings, there’s a lot of heart there for sure.
“We thought we’d wear him down, but it never happened. He actually got better as it went on.”
White River (15-2, 11-2) hoped to claim its first league title since winning it back-to-back in 2011-12. The Hornets can still earn at least a share of the title if they win at Sumner on Wednesday.
Sumner can take the title outright for the first time in 29 years if it wins Wednesday.
If not, it will have to hope White River loses to Orting on Saturday.
“It was nice seeing our guys get a comfort level with playing these guys,” Adcox said. “There’s a little tightness playing a game like this, and I think that is alleviated now. Even though it’s senior day and for all the marbles (Wednesday), I think our guys will come out with confidence.”
Adcox said Logan Christensen will pitch the 4 p.m. game at Sumner High School.
Williams said Trent Buchanan will start for White River.TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677