How impressive were the Timberline Blazers in their Class 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district winner-to-regional baseball game against Todd Beamer on Tuesday?
The Blazers pounded out 14 hits, used small-ball to get run production, successfully stole six bases in seven attempts, and had an inside-the-park home run at Foss High School.
All of it added up to the Blazers’ 9-0 win over the Titans to secure a spot in the 4A regionals. Timberline (17-4) faces defending state champion Puyallup at 1 p.m. Saturday at Kent’s Art Wright Field in the 4A bi-district semifinals with a shot at playing in the 7 p.m. bi-district championship game.
Beamer (14-10) faces Yelm, a 9-3 winner in 10 innings over Kentridge, at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Art Wright Field in a loser-out bi-district game.
The run support was more than enough for senior right-hander Zach Owens to quietly have one of his best performances this spring. Pardon the first two innings, though, in his book.
The Blazers got to Beamer starter Taylor Davis for an early exit after two innings (six earned runs, 67 pitches). Already with a 1-0 lead after the first, Timberline tagged him for five second-inning runs, highlighted by Tony Ortiz’s two-run inside-the-park home run to right-center.
Ryan Connor had three singles and Austin Whalen was 3 for 3, including a two-run double that made it 6-0 after two innings.
Center fielder Taylor Adams was 4 for 4 but not in hits: stolen bases. In the first inning, the senior stole second, then third before scoring on a Connor single for one of his three runs scored on the day. He rated Tuesday as one of the Blazers’ more well-rounded performances; eight of the nine starters recorded a hit and four players had a multi-hit game.
“Everyone was focused — our whole lineup brought it today,” said Adams, who had a second-inning single. “We play really good when we’re loose and we have good team chemistry. That helps us stay loose.”
For Owens, it wasn’t until the third when he began to settle on the mound. He struck out the side in the inning and aside from hits given up in the fourth and seventh innings, the ball left the infield twice all game.
His final line: seven innings, no runs, two hits (both singles), nine strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter on 89 pitches.
The early lead, thanks to the offense, made him relax and alleviated some pressure, he said, “but it makes me want to compete even more,” he added.
“These guys out here are working their best to get me runs,” Owens said, “and I have to do my best to throw strikes and do what I can to keep us in the game as well.”
Tied at 3 after seven innings, a six-run 10th helped Yelm (15-6) advance to face Beamer (14-10) at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Art Wright Field in another elimination bi-district game hoping to keep its season alive.
Justin Polzin, Indy Keesler and Randy Reynolds combined for nine hits and six RBIs.
The Tornados batted around in the 10th inning, starting with Keesler reaching base to lead off the inning on an error. It was quickly a 6-3 lead on Reynolds’ two-RBI double followed by an RBI single by Brandon Thompson. Yelm had five hits in the inning and 14 in the game.
Daylon Matthews (starter) and Polzin (relief) each pitched five innings. Puyallup 6, Decatur 0: Chris Micheles allowed just one hit, walked one and struck out seven on 85 pitches and the junior left-hander threw a shutout as the Vikings clinched a Class 4A state tournament berth.
Puyallup will play Timberline in the 4A West Central District semifinals Saturday at Kent Memorial Park, but the Vikings have already secured a return trip to the regional round of the state tournament after going 28-0 and winning the state title last season.
The run was the only one allowed by Bellarmine pitcher Ben Johnson, who finished with six hits allowed and two strikeouts.
Packard allowed two hits, walked two and struck out five on 83 pitches in his seven innings.