Black Hills experienced a little bit of everything in the top half of the fourth inning: two wild pitches, a balk, a hit batsman, three Tumwater errors and five hits off two pitchers.
If that wasn’t interesting enough, the T-Birds scored twice and had the tying run at second base in the bottom of the seventh inning.
But when it was all over, the Wolves had poured seven runs across the plate in that fateful fourth, and rode the big inning to a wild 10-9 victory over the T-Birds at Tumwater High School.
“This game is built perfectly,” Black Hills coach Todd Venable said. “When you give any team more than three outs, crazy stuff starts to happen.”
“We thought we were out of it,” Tumwater coach Clay Hill said, referring to a double play that appeared would limit the fourth-inning damage. “You can’t take a pitch off.”
Black Hills improved to 8-3 overall and 5-3 in the 2A Evergreen Conference. Tumwater fell to 7-3 and 4-3.
Tumwater picked up three runs in the first inning off Black Hills starter Nathan Hutson, getting an RBI single from Zach Jones and two more runs on Michael Wagar’s bases-loaded, bad-hop grounder.
Black Hills countered in the second inning with a sharp RBI single to right by Austin Parr.
Jones drove in another run with an infield single in the second to put Tumwater up 4-1. Jones then turned defender in the next half-inning. His fine diving catch on a line drive by Jaycee Miller accounted for the last out of a spotless third by Tumwater starter Trayten Rodriguez.
The fourth was nowhere near as pristine. The T-Birds’ defense faltered just as Rodriguez was tiring. The inning started innocently enough with an infield single by the Wolves’ Ethan Loveless, who then advanced on a wild pitch. Bryce Kincy drove in Loveless with a single, then went to third on a throwing error by Rodriguez on a pickoff attempt. Kristian Knight followed with an RBI single.
After Tumwater shortstop Noah Andrew committed consecutive errors onand Nate Brosio hit an RBI single, Miller delivered the inning’s big shot with a two-run double to deep left.
Tumwater’s Jackson Davis cracked a two-run home run in a three-run sixth inning as the T-Birds cut their deficit to 10-7.
Then in the bottom of the seventh, a two-run double by Wagar got the T-Birds to within a run before Wolves’ reliever Taylor Simmons closed the door.
Both teams are hanging around the fourth seed for the conference playoffs with their eyes on W.F. West and Centralia, who are the top two 2A EvCo teams.