The 1A State Baseball Tournament in Yakima featured the only returning State Champion at any of the Tournaments, the Hoquiam Grizzlies. The Grizzlies defeated South Whidbey 6-4.This is Hoquiam’s 5th trip to the Final 4 and they also took the Championship back in 1980. Freeman also returns to Yakima in back-to-back year’s but took home the 4th place trophy last year after losing their Semi-Final to Hoquiam 4-0 and dropping the 3rd place game to Cashmere 4-1. The Scotties got to the Semi-Finals one other time in 2008 and finished 3rd.

The other 2 Semi-finalists include Vashon Island who have been this far twice but it’s been a long time in 1999 and 1996 finishing 4th in both tournaments. So the Pirates are looking for their best finish in school history. Overlake/Bear Creek made it the Final 4 back in 2002 and finished 4th.

Below are stories and picture galleries of all 4 games and be sure to look for our All-Tournament Team we will release by Monday.

Day 2 Championship Saturday

State Championship Game: Vashon Island 10, Hoquiam 6

(Yakima, WA) The Hoquiam Grizzlies were the only defending Champions to get back to the Final 4 from 2015 and with only 2 Seniors on this team the Grizzlies surprised many to get this far and if they did defend their Championship they would be in position to pull off the rare 3 team State Championships in a row.

Vashon Island on the flip side had already made school history by advancing to the Title game and no matter what would be the most successful baseball team in school history. So coming into the big game who had the momentum? The Grizzlies coming off a 3-1 win over Freeman in the Semi-Finals and set to defend their title or the Pirates who struggled to hang on to a 1-0 Semi-Final win over Overlake-Bear Creek? On paper it appeared the Grizzlies had the edge and that’s why cliche’s are tired and old but remain true, so they went ahead and played the game.

The Pirates wasted little time in turning around their offense doubling their output from the Semi-Final in the 1st inning scoring 2 runs. Sam Schoenberg led off with a single and was followed by a double from Ashton Dulfer. Clyde Pruett came through with an RBI single and Chester Pruett followed up with an RBI on a sac fly and it was 2-0 after 1.

The Pirates added 2 more in the bottom of the 2nd to take a 4-0 lead. Jeremy Pilgrim-Stoppel led off the inning with a double, Levi Myer got aboard on an error and the Simon Perrin sac bunted Pilgrim-Stoppel in and that would be it for Hoquiam starting pitcher Brody Bennett. Jerod Steen came in to relieve and other than a wild pitch that scored Myer got out of the inning without further damage but the Bucs now led 4-0.

Hoquiam flashed some signs of life in the top of the 3rd as Garrett Bradley led off with a walk and scored when Jackson Folkers lined one down the left field line for a double and the Defending Champs were on the board trailing 4-1. After a strike-out, Zach Spradlin lined one to right center for an apparent sure single and maybe more when Vashon’s Simon Perrin made the ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game with a highlight reel, laid out catch. If the ball gets by it goes to the wall and Folkers easily scores and Spradlin may have ended up on 3rd. Jack Skinner then flied out to right field which would have likely scored Spradlin making it 4-3 but instead the catch kept it a 4-1 game.

The Pirates then poured it on in the 4th adding 4 more, Sam Schoenberg led the charge with an RBI triple, Ashton Dulfer had an RBI single and Chester Pruett drilled an RBI single. Then in the 5th inning sporting an 8-1 lead, Vashon nearly closed out the game scoring 2 on another Schoenberg RBI single and an RBI single from starting pitcher Logan Hawkins making it 10-1 and now 1 more run would end the game under the 10-run rule. With runners on 1st and 2nd Chester Pruett grounded out to 2nd and the Grizzlies would get at least one more turn at bat.

Boy what a turn it was as Hawkins had been cruising on the mound but was on a pitch count and was clearly tiring so after hitting Steen the lead off hitter and that would be it for Hawkins. Ashton Dulfer came in to relieve and things got a little crazy breathing new life into the Grizzly hopeful and scaring the heck out of Pirate Nation.

Skyler Jump was up next and walked followed by another hit batter in Payton Quintanilla to fill the bases. Sean McAlister then singled for an RBI, then Dulfer hit Bradley and Folkers making it 10-5 with the bases loaded and still no one out. Dulfer was pulled and Sam Yates came in for the Pirates. Vashon Head Coach Steve Hall was hesitant to put in Yates who hadn’t pitched other than  some batting practice over the last 4 weeks but options were limited and they needed just 6 outs for a State Championship.

Yates would then  get a strike out but Spradlin slapped an RBI base hit and now the Grizzlies were within 4. Yates then coaxed a fielders choice and a pop-out to get out of the inning holding on to a 4 run lead. That would be as close as Hoquiam would get as Yates would face only 4 batters in the 7th with the final out a ground ball to Dulfer at short who tossed it 1st for the final out and the Pirates won their 1st ever State Baseball Championship.

Our Tommy Lowe of the Greene Realty Group Players of the Game went to Vashon’s Sam Schoenberg and to Hoquiam’s Jack Skinner.

The State Championship win was also the final game for Pirates Head Coach Steve Hall as he will step away with a large number of the players as the Pirates graduate 8 Seniors all-starters. Hoquiam however, with only Skinner and Jeff Capeman graduating will leave Head Coach Steve Jump almost his entire team back next season and has to be one of the early favorites to get back to Yakima and the Championship game.

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3rd Place Game: Freeman 3, Overlake-Bear Creek 2 (8)

(Yakima, WA) The 3rd place trophy for the 1A would take longer than usual to award after Freeman and Overlake-Bear Creek were deadlocked at 2-2 after 7 innings. Freeman was looking for the 1st Final 4 win in 2 straight years and regardless of the outcome for the Growls this was the best finish in program history.

The Scotties took a 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st when JT Neely led off with a double and scored on an RBI sac fly by McKabe Cottrell. This would also earn our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game. The Scotties added to their lead with a run in the 3rd when Sebastian Hyta singled to lead off  followed by 2 errors, one that put JT Neely and scored Hyta and it was 2-0 after 3.

O-BC got on the board in the bottom of the 3rd when Tellie Lundquist singled  and then Peter Dudunakis got a base hit. Karsten Kohout then hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Lundquist and it was 2-1 after 3. The Growls would get the equalizer in the 5th inning when Lundquist led off with a single and then scored as Scotties pitcher Desmond Parisotto threw over to 1st to keep him close but over-threw 1st baseman Simon Rooney and Lundquist was off to 3rd base. Rooney tried to throw him out at 3rd but over-threw and Lundquist would come all the way around to tie the game at 2-2.

The Growls would blow a great opportunity in the 6th and then Freeman came through in the top of the 8th as Parisotto got on by getting hit. After a walk, Rooney hit a sharp ground ball with 2-out and got on by an error while Parisotto scored the go-ahead run.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Growls would load the bases on relief pitcher Rooney when Lundquist came calling again and ripped a frozen rope to the left side of the infield but Freeman 3rd baseman Koby Kent was there to make the catch for the 3rd out and end the game. For that play Kent was named our Tommy Lowe of Greene Realty Player of the Game for Freeman and Tellie Lundquist got it for O-BC.

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Day 1 Semi-Finals

Game 1: Hoquiam 3, Freeman 1

(Yakima, WA) The only defending State Champion to return to the Final 4 flexed their muscles early  and took a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning and never looked back. The Hoquiam Grizzlies would get to Freeman starting pitcher McKabe Cottrell with 1 out Jack Skinner got it started with a single. Jerod Steen would then walk followed by a walk to Skyler Jump. Brody Bennett would come in to run for Jump the starting pitcher. Cottrell then got his 1st strike-out and had a chance to get out of the bases loaded jam with no damage.

Sean McAlister had other ideas and with 2 outs would come through with a base hit knocking in both Skinner and Steen for a 2-0 lead. McAlister’s hit would ultimately win our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game. Bennett moved to 3rd on the play and with runner’s on the corner a wild pitch by Cottrell would score Bennett and the Grizzlies had a 3-0 lead after 1.

Jump then went on a run of strike-outs as the starting pitcher for Hoquiam. He would strike out the side in the 2nd and 3rd innings. He would then strike out the the 1st and 2nd batters in the 4th for 8 in a row. Freeman would then rally with a 2-out hit by McKabe Cottrell followed by a walk and then an RBI base hit from Jack Paukert to make it 3-1 after the 4th.

In the meantime, Cottrell settled down and would throw 5 straight shut out innings and end up striking out 9 himself. The Scotties blew their best chance to tie in the 6th inning when Keegan Cottrell was hiyt by a pitch and McKabe Cottrell followed with a single. After a strike-out Paukert skied one to left field but Jeff Capoeman dropped the ball and Freeman had the bases juiced with 1-out. Skyler Jump then locked up the Tommy Lowe of Greene Realty Player of the Game for Hoquiam when he struck out Simon Rooney and Koby Kent for his 13th and 14th strike-put of the game.

McKabe Cottrell easily took our Player of the Game for Freeman. Interesting stat of the game is that Jump and McKabe combined for 23 strike-outs leading to 23 of the possible 39 outs in this game were whiffs. It was only 39 total outs because Hoquiam did not need to bat in the bottom of the 7th.

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Game 2: Vashon Island 1, Overlake-Bear Creek 0

(Yakima, WA) It was about making the most of your opportunities in this game and there weren’t many  to begin with. The Vashon Island Pirates struck 1st in the 2nd inning, little did everyone know that would be the only lightning strike of the game.

It began with Onverlake-Bear Creek pitcher Ryan Long picking up his 1st strike-out of the game and followed by Chester Pruett’s 1-out stand-up double. Ary Dulfer came in to courtesy run for the catcher. Harper Whitney then follpowed with a line shot to right field but Dulfer had to hesitate to make sure the Growls 2nd baseman Matt Kelleran didn’t snag it and could only make it to 3rd. With runners on the corners, DH Levi Myer then laid down a perfect squeeze between the mound and 1st base and not only did the bunt easily score Dulfer but Myer was on base safely. However, Long buckled down and struck out the next 2 batters and limited the damage to 1 run and trailed 1-0.

The Pirate next chance to score was in the 3rd with runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out when Jeremy Pilgrim-Stoppel grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and the Pirate starting pitcher could not help himself. Vashon would put 2 on in the 5th with a lead-off base hit from Sam Schoenberg followed by another single from Ashton Dulfer. They both would move up to 2nd and 3rd on a passed ball so the Pirates had 2 in scoring position with no outs when Long shut down 2-3-4 hitters striking them all out to get out of a jam still trailing 1-0.

In the top of the 7th it looked like the Growls would finally score when they loaded the bases with no outs on a Kelleran lead off hit followed by a Karsten Kahout base hit and a bunt base hit from Long. Following a strike-out, Bryce DeLay came to the plate and Coach Mike Davidson called for a squeeze. The pitch from Pilgrim-Stoppel was outside but DeLay knew he had to make contact as the runners were in motion but he could not reach the ball and Kelleran found himself in a run-down. Chester Pruett chased him all the back to 3rd and tagged him and Kelleran was out because Kahout had already advanced to 3rd and the Growls had 2 men on the same base so Kelleran was the 2nd out of the inning.

Delay then grounded to shortstop Ashton Dulfer who threw him out at 1st to end the game and somehow, someway the Pirates made that 2nd inning 1-0 lead hold up all the way to the State Title game against defending State Champions Hoquiam at 7pm Saturday night. Overlake-Bear Creek will battle Freeman at 1pm for 3rd place.

Our Tommy Lowe of the Greene Realty Group Players of the Game went to Vashon Island’s pitcher Jeremy Pilgrim-Stoppel who pitched a complete game shut-out. For the Growls we had to go with their pitcher as well Ryan Long who also pitched a complete game, gave up 1 run and struck out 8 but took the loss. Our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game goes to Levi Myer who squeeze bunted home the lone run.

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By paulb

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