(Lacey, WA) The biggest question of the day was would the rain hold off to get this SPSL 2A league contest in and indeed it turned out to be a decent day. The field was a bit wet in places but River Ridge Coach Chad Arko and his assistants and team did a great job to have the field as game ready as you can get in March in Washington State.
Steilacoom came in with just 1 game under their belt a 14-4 win over Bonney Lake in non-league. Head Coach Brian Shannon expressed a bit of frustration as they did not have a game scheduled last Thursday or Friday when the weather cooperated and would have liked to have had another game under their belt prior to starting league play. The Hawks did get 2 games in last week and came in with an 0-2 record. The Sentinels are a mixture of young and old with 5 Senior’s in the starting line-up but no Juniors while the Hawks are a very young squad.
Mac Armstrong would get the start for River Ridge and the defense started off shaky with an error putting Isayah Quitagua on 1st for the Sents. After a strike-out Steilacoom’s starting pitcher Brennan Postal would single and Quitagua ended up on 3rd. Postal would steal 2nd and runner’s were on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Jon Gasporra would then ground a soft roller to 3rd baseman Brayden Anderson who fired it home to catcher Matthew Morgan as Quitagua took off from 3rd and easily got him at home. A fly ball to center would end the threat and Armstrong worked out of an early jam.
The Hawks would take the 1st lead in the bottom of the 2nd when Addison Nash was walked by Postal and would come around to score. Morgan sacrificed bunted Nash to 2nd followed by a pair of error’s would fill the bases. Carl Kalama the #9 batter then grounded one right up the 1st base line and although an easy out for Sentinels 1st baseman Patrick Summit the wet ground slowed the ball enough there was no way to get Nash at home and Kalama picked up the RBI.
Steilacoom would take the lead in the top of the 4th scoring 2 runs while sending 8 to the plate. Gasporra would walk and an error would put 2 on with no out when Postal came up. Postal delivered with an RBI single to tie the game. Austin Wiley then sac bunted followed by an error would score the go-ahead run. Armstrong then coaxed a fly ball to shallow center and a ground-out to 3rd to end the threat but the Sents had a 2-1 lead.
River Ridge would waste little time in coming back and scored twice in the bottom of the 4th to re-take a 3-2 lead. It was a 2-out rally that scored the runs as with 2 down Chris Tomczweski would single and on a throw in to 1st he would move to 2nd on an error. Blake Anderson then knocked him home with an RBI single. Kalama would walk and then Mac Armstrong would ground one up the middle but an error would score Anderson but Steilacoom would get Kalama trying to stretch it to 3rd. The counted as Anderson scored prior to Kalama getting tagged out.
This lead to a crazy 7th inning that saw the 2 teams again ping-pong back and forth. Armstrong started the 7th trying to finish what he started and began by getting a fly-out. He would then lose the next batter Ryan Smith and walked him. Chandler Cuzetto would come in to run for the DH. Postal would then single followed by a single by Gasporra to load the bases with 1 out. Summit would rip a single knocking in 2 runs and the Sents would re-take the lead 4-3. Armstrong would be finished and Brayden Anderson came in to relieve him and got the next 2 with a strike-out and a fly-out.
This set up a strange finish to the game where a walk would turn into a triple scoring the tying run. Taylor Harp would lead off with a base shot to right field and took 2nd on a passed ball. Zach Carter then sacrificed Harp to 3rd when Brayden Anderson came to the plate. Anderson worked a walk and on ball 4 it would get past the catcher. Anderson trying to coax a run-down kept on going as he rounded 1st. An overthrow by the defense trying to get Anderson would score Harp and put Anderson with the game winning run on 3rd with 1 out. Nash would get on with a bunt single but not enough to score Anderson setting up Matthew Morgan who grounded one through the right side of a pulled up infield and Anderson would cross the plate giving the Hawks their 1st win of the season.
River Ridge is now 1-2 on the season but more importantly 1-0 in league play while Steilacoom dropped to 1-1 and 0-1. Our Tommy Lowe of the Greene Realty Group Player’s of the Game went to the Hawks Mac Armstrong and to Steilacoom’s Brennan Postal. Our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game went to Brayden Anderson’s walk in the 7th inning that ended up scoring Harp and putting him on 3rd as the winning run.
Photo Gallery courtesy of River Ridge parent and photog extraordinaire Rick Morgan!