(Chehalis, WA)


Almost a year ago to the day, W.F. West and Mark Morris met in Districts for a loser-out game and played an 11-inning thriller which saw W.F. West win 7-6, ending Mark Morris’s season. This year, the two schools met in the first round of Districts but not a loser-out game, however, the action on the diamond might’ve topped last year’s marathon. The W.F. West Bearcats hosted the opening round game due to their second-place finish in the 2A EVCO, finishing behind the defending State champs, Tumwater. The Mark Morris Monarchs finished the regular season tied for second with Columbia River. Still, they were the third seed due to a tiebreaker, therefore making them travel up to Chehalis for Tuesday’s matchup.

Mark Morris wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as lead-off hitter Kellen Desbiens drew a walk and was singled in by Stephen Hammergren in the top of the first to give the Monarchs an early 1-0 lead. Langston Bartell got the start on the mound for Mark Morris and after allowing a single to the first batter he faced, the next 10 Bearcat hitters would record an out. In the third inning, with two on and two out, Dossen Morrow singled in Decker Bartell and Zach Doherty to extend the Mark Morris lead to 3-0.

In last year’s game, W.F. West’s Evan Stajduhar hit a 2-run home run in the fourth inning. This year in the fourth inning, Stajduhar hit a towering double that scored Braden Jones and Weston Potter to trim Mark Morris’s lead down to 3-2. The sixth inning would bring a golden opportunity for Mark Morris to get more runs on the board. Austin Lundquist single and both Trenton Lamb and Jackson Rohl were hit by pitches to load the bases with just one out in the top of the sixth. W.F. West’s pitcher, Hunter Lutman was in a jam but got Decker Bartell to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. That would be the last batter Lutman would face as he went 6 innings, giving up five hits, and three runs while walking six batters, however, he recorded seven strikeouts on the day.

Langston Bartell would pitch five innings for the Monarchs, getting a pair of strikeouts, allowing five hits, and allowing two runs. In the bottom of the sixth, Stephen Hammergren came in from center field to pitch and struck out two Bearcats to head to the final inning with a one-run lead. Riggs Weslan came in for Lutman in the seventh inning but he allowed a walk to Doherty, who reached base in all three of his plate appearances. Weslan would get the next two Monarch batters out but Morrow would head to the plate again and deliver another RBI base hit which scored Doherty to give Mark Morris a 4-2 lead. Weslan intentionally walked Hammergren to put runners on first and second with two outs but would get Austin Lundquist to pop out to end the top of the seventh.

In the bottom of the final frame, Hunter Niemi would draw a walk but Hammergren would strike out pinch hitter Connor Coleman for the first out. Deacon Meller would get hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with only one out. Hammergren would strike out Gavin Fugate to bring W.F. West to their final out. Braden Jones stepped up to the plate and with a 3-2 count, down to W.F. West’s final strike, Jones smacked a ball into center which easily scored Niemi and moved Meller to third as both base runners were stealing on. the full count pitch. Langston Bartell, who moved to center for Hammergren threw the ball into the infield but overshot Desbiens, and went by the glove of Morrow, who came over to cover from first base, allowing Meller to score from third and inexplicably tie the game. During the chaos, Jones advanced to second which opened up first base and Mark Morris would intentionally walk Potter to bring up Stajduhar to the plate. Stajduhar would swing on the first pitch he saw, blasting it into right-center and scoring Jones for a walk-off single, sending the W.F. West crowd into a frenzy. The Bearcats flooded the field as Stajduhar would get mobbed by his teammates right behind the pitcher’s mound to celebrate their 5-4 victory.

Our Thorbeckes game MVP would be Evan Stajduhar, he had three RBI’s, a walk-off hit, and also drew a walk in the nail-biting win.

W.F. West advances to the semifinals where they will meet the regular season GSHL champs, Ridgefield, tonight in a winner to State game. The loser of that game will play in a loser-out, winner-to-state game on Friday night against the winner of tonight’s game between Hudson’s Bay and Rochester.

Mark Morris will play in a loser-out game tonight against Shelton. The winner of that game will face the loser of Tumwater vs. Columbia River in a loser-out, winner-to-state game on Friday night.

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