Tumwater 4, Fife 1
Garrett Terrell went the distance to beat Fife.
Tumwater 3, North Kitsap 1
(Yelm, WA) The Tumwater T-Birds rolled into the Yelm 2A Baseball Regional with not much history of success in the post season. The T-Birds have only been to the State Tournament 5 times in school history. In 1974 they lost to Centralia in the first round 1-0, 1983 again Centralia beat the T-Birds 14-5. 1990 would bring their lone State Tournament win with a 3-1 victory over Hazen but then they would lose 1-0 to Mt. Vernon. Then in 2004 and 2007 two more 1st round exits with a 9-0 loss to Selah and 12-6 defeat to Ellensburg. 2013 would be different. With little pressure of living up to past successes this T-Bird squad is set to be the team to emulate.
The T-Birds game plan this year, especially in the 2nd half of the season combined solid pitching, great defense, timely hitting and good decisions. All of those elements came together in Yelm on Saturday afternoon. The T-Birds began the season 6-6 and during this time the up and down Birds looked like another year of qualifying for the District and that would be about it. They were a bit sloppy with issues on base, getting picked off and running themselves out of innings and making poor decisions in the field like missing their cut off allowing the other teams to extend their innings.
ESN talked with Head Coach Jamie Weeks who said they just kept working on those fundamentals trying to pound good, solid basics into the teams psyche. It finally clicked and the T-Birds rolled off 6 straight wins to finish the season 12-6 and grabbing the #2 seed into districts.
Once into post season the T-Birds kept on cruising with a 4-1 win over Hockinson the #3 seed from the GSHL and then beating Mark Morris 12-4. In that game the T-Birds showed they could come back on a team as they trailed 4-0 heading into the bottom of the 6th inning when they erupted 12 runs on 17 hits sending them to the Regional Tournament and District Championship game. Tumwater would fall short in the District Title game against W F West losing 5-1. Now with the two wins at the Regional Tournament the T-Birds are a blistering 10-1 in their last 11 games.
In the first loser out contest, Tumwater a #2 seed from District 4 would face a #1 seed in Fife who came with loads of credentials and were the experts choice to come out of the Yelm Regional.The T-Birds weren’t buying and although pitcher Garrett Terrell would not have his best outing of the year, he was solid and went the distance to get the win.
Justin Graham about to single for the Birds.
Tumwater would strike first in the first inning with lead off hitter Justin Graham singling then moving to 2nd on a ground out by Anthony Correia. Terrell would get on when he grounded to short and Derek Stephen chose to try and get Graham at 3rd and both were safe. Luke Hare would then single to knock in Graham while Terrell went to 3rd. In a rare misstep, Hare then tried to steal 2nd or drawing the throw and then got caught up in a run-down hoping Terrell could score from 3rd. Hare got tagged before Terrell could score to end the inning but Tumwater had a 1-0 lead.
The Trojans would come right back in the half of the 1st. Hayden Fagundes would walk to lead off, one of 5 walks in the game for Terrell. Stephen would then line one right down the 1st base line into right field scoring Fagundes to tie the score at 1. Fife starting pitcher Brock Carpenter would then walk to put runners on 1st and 2nd with no out. Terrell would buckle down and get the next two batters to fly out and then a ground out to get out of the inning allowing the 1 run. Little did they know then but for the next 13 innings the T-Bird pitching and defense would give no more.
In the 3rd inning, the T-Birds would get all the offense they would need when Tyler Oberg reached 1st on an error on the 3rd baseman Andrew Waltner. Graham would walk followed by a grounder from Correia which would get Graham on the force at 2nd but left runners on the corners with 1 out. Terrell helped his own cause with an RBI single which moved Correia to 3rd and then Clayton Boze knocked in Correia with an RBI sacrifice fly to center. Luke Hare then pulled one right at the 3rd baseman Waltner who again erred scoring Terrell for the 3rd run of the inning giving Tumwater a 4-1 lead.
Terrell backed by stellar defensive play would then roll over the Trojans facing the minimum 3 batters in the 3rd, 4th and 6th innings and only 4 batters in the 5th and 7th. Tumwater surprised the Fife with the 4-1 win and then had to face North Kitsap who beat Sedro Woolley in the first game of the day 4-3.
On to Yakima…
The format of the Regional play-offs is simple, 4 teams begin and 1 advances to the final four, you must win 2 games so the season was on the line for both North Kitsap and Tumwater. Talking with some if the Vikings fans prior to the Tumwater game you got the feeling they were relieved to get the T-Birds as they had already lost to Fife in their District Tournament. There was a confidence from the North Kitsap crowd and belief that the Tumwater win over the Trojans was a bit of a fluke.
They would learn quickly they would be in the fight of the season as Tumwater’s pitching and defense again would bend a
Elijah Hill also went 7 innings to win against North Kitsap sending the T-Birds to Yakima.
little but never break. Sophomore Elijah Hill would get the start for Tumwater and Hill would again not only keep his team in the game, but shut out the Vikings frustrating them time and again. Hill would only get 1 strike-out but coaxed the Vikings into grounders and easy fly balls.
Hill would get all the offense he would need in the 3rd inning when Riley Owen led off with an infield base hit. Owen hit an infield grounder and as he approached 1st base dove for the bag and beat the throw. Oberg then reached base on an error and with 2 on and no one out Graham hit an RBI single. That would be followed by Garrett Terrell Sacrifice fly to knock in a 2nd run and Tumwater held a 2-0 lead. The T-Birds would add another run in the top of the 7th when Graham would knock in Colton Turner giving Tumwater a 3-0 lead.
It wasn’t like the Vikings didn’t have their chances. All season, Hill has had a penchant for getting out of tough situations relying on his teammates to make plays. One of those key plays came in the 5th inning when North Kitsap’s Will Ekin led off with a base hit. Apparently trying to catch the T-Birds by surprise Ekin took off for 2nd on the 1st pitch to the next batter Andrew Hecker and catcher Ian Sugrue gunned him down. Hill then struck out Hecker, again the only K in the game for either side and then got Kyler Gracey to ground out to get out of the inning.
The 6th inning appeared to be the best chance to finally get to Hill when he walked Matt Fisher and AJ Milyard to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Coach Weeks told ESN at that time he was about to pull Hill but decided to give him another batter and Hill then got pinch hitter Max Teising to ground out, Ben Tamm flew out and Adam Lemmon grounded out to end the inning.
Tumwater advances to the Final Four at County Stadium in Yakima next Friday where they will play at 4pm. They do not know who they will play yet as the Bellinghan Region was rained out and they will play either on Sunday or Monday. The four teams competing in that region are Lynden, Lindbergh, White River and Archbishop Murphy.
In the Chehalis Region, 2 Evergreen 2A teams had a chance to advance to Yakima and in fact both teams ended up winners in the first round and faced each other for the 4th time this season. Centralia surprised Sumner 7-4 while W F West beat Olympic 4-2 in the opening games setting up another Twin City Rivalry with the season on the line. The winner to Yakima the loser had their season come to an end. The Tigers gave the Bearcats all they wanted but Chehalis proved to be too tough and knocked off Centralia for the 4th time this season ending the Tigers season. The final score was 7-4.
W F West now faces Clarkston on Friday night at 7pm. Clarkston advanced to the Final Four with a win over West Valley of Yakima in the Yakima Regional 2-1 and then they knocked off the other West Valley team from Spokane 9-6.
For more on the Chehalis Regional and the W F West and Centralia games click here for the stories from the Chronicle by Aaron Vantuyl.
WIAA 2A State Bracket
More Pictures from the Yelm Region…