Monday’s loss makes Wednesday’s rematch that much more important.
The Yelm High School baseball team couldn’t get a handle on Gig Harbor on Monday, as the Tides rolled to an 11-1 win, at Sehmel Homestead Park.
“That’s a good club,” Yelm senior Brandon Thompson said. “But we’ve beat some good teams. I think if we play how we want to, we can play with anyone.”
And, at this point in the season, every Class 3A South Sound Conference game matters.
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With three league games remaining — the rematch with Gig Harbor and a two-game series against Central Kitsap — Yelm (9-5, 7-4 3A SSC) is squarely in third place.
Gig Harbor (12-3, 8-2) and Timberline (13-4, 9-2) are still the top contenders for the league’s inaugural title, but Yelm has an outside chance.
“We tell our kids, we take the approach that this is our last game,” Yelm coach Brady Hoover said. “If you lose, your season’s over.
“We have to take that approach from here on out, because you start getting late in the season, and we’re fighting for positioning in the playoffs.”
Yelm is already guaranteed a spot in the 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament — the league’s top six teams advance — but who, when and where the Tornados play hasn’t been decided.
“We want to get as many wins as we can to move up in those spots,” Hoover said.
Which is why he’s already focused on Wednesday after Monday’s loss.
RJ Green, a senior and Tacoma Community College commit, collected five RBIs on three hits to lead the Tides.
His single to center scored two in the second, part of a four-run inning Yelm never recovered from.
Green added a two-run double in the third and ended the game in the sixth with a sharp single, scoring Gig Harbor’s final run.
“They’ve got a few guys over there,” Hoover said. “Those are the types of teams you have to beat in the playoffs if you want to make a run.”
Washington State University commit Avery Jones, a senior, recorded the win. He pitched five innings for the Tides, allowing one run on eight hits and striking out eight.
Yelm sophomore Kyle Robinson recorded the loss, pitching 2 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits while striking out two.
Robinson’s single in the fifth brought home David Peterson for Yelm’s only run.
Thompson, a TCC commit, was 2 of 3 with a double, and sophomore Kodee Gifford was 2 of 3 with two doubles, but the Tornados stranded eight runners.
“I thought offensively we did OK,” Hoover said. “We had some chances early in that game, and we didn’t get a big hit.
“We had guys on base and didn’t get it done, and just kind of mentally folded at the end.”
The Tornados host Gig Harbor at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.