Saturday’s College Baseball: Myer Tosses Complete Game Shutout Over Pierce

Pitching and Defense: Basics Help Blazers Take Game 1 of League Double Dip

By Jordan Nailon / jnailon@chronline.com

Some games, by their nature, mean more to different players than others.

It’s a good bet that Saturday’s start against Pierce counted as one of those important contests for Josh Myer. The Trailblazers’ workhorse took the mound for Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Red Raiders on Saturday and knew nearly as much about this opponent as his teammates.

That’s because Myer was a Red Raider himself last year before transferring to Centralia in search of an expanded role. While Myer was focused on picking up a league win and helping to halt a losing streak on Saturday, he was also looking for redemption, and he got it in spades.

Myer pitched a nine-inning complete game shutout against his former team in order to help his new squad earn a much needed 2-0 NWAC South Conference victory over the Red Raiders in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Pierce College was able to take the cake in the nightcap with a 5-2 win, but it was that sterling performance from their ace to start the day that stuck out to the Trailblazers’ faithful.

“He’s been outstanding all year and this was just another great game from Josh. He’s been our bulldog. He’s been the most competitive guy we have on this team. We know every time we have him on the mound it’s going to be a good game. He’s going to compete for us and put us in a position to win the ballgame,” said Centralia coach Kawika Emsley-Pai.

Myer finished the game with eight strikeouts while allowing just five hits and zero runs. The nine-inning effort extended his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 23 frames. He was also consistently efficient in his workload and pacing, finishing one inning in just a tick over two minutes.

The right handed hurler said he had a pretty straight forward plan of attack against the familiar faces and batting stances of the Red Raiders.

“Pretty much get ahead early. Throw a lot of strikes and then mix it late in the game with a lot of offspeed,” Myer explained. “I had a good fastball running in on the right handed hitters today. It was the most strikeouts I’ve had on fastballs all year.”

While Myer was dealing all day his counterpart from Pierce College, Ryan Ancheta, had the Trailblazers’ lineup similarly off balance for the first six innings. In the seventh inning, though, the Trailblazers finally broke through with a pair of runs that proved to be the difference.

Ethan Hori sparked the timely two-out rally with a walk and a stolen base before Blake Marker brought him around with a RBI double. Colton Titus followed suit with a single to score Marker and the Blazers were in business.

“I was jumping up and down with everybody else. I knew once we had one (run) we were good to go and I was just psyched for my team to get that run support,” said Myer.

On Friday the Blazers dropped a pair of one-run games against Pierce and the importance of the league rematch was not lost on Myer, or any other Centralia players for that matter.

“What I like about our team is we are pretty hyped every game. We pick each other up and we really care about each other. That’s just been our energy all year so we had the same solid energy even with the two losses yesterday,” explained Myer.

The pitcher admitted he was beginning to feel some fatigue down the stretch. He also insisted that he never entertained the possibility of exiting the game before the outcome was decided.

“Oh no. I wasn’t losing the ball today. Not today,” said Myer as a matter of fact.

Titus was 3-for-4 at the plate in the game and Nole Wollan was 3-for-4 with a walk. Tysen Paul added two hits for the Blazers when he wasn’t catching strikes for Myer behind home plate.

Centralia lost their way a bit in the nightcap, however, as an outbreak of errors plagued their defense in the early innings. The Blazer’s starting pitcher, Adrian Stacy was able to complete five innings with two strikeouts and two hits in the book. Four runs also scored on his watch but at least two of those were of the unearned variety. Marco Quintero and Zach Blake combined to finish the final two innings out of the bullpen.

“I didn’t feel like they beat us. I felt like we beat ourselves,” said Emsley-Pai. “We’re going to take this in stride. We’re really confident right now knowing that we can compete with the best teams in this league.”

Centralia picked up two runs in the fourth inning when Wollan led off with a walk and Josh Parks singled up the middle. Gavin O’Donnell then drove in Wollan with a single before Gavin Manheimer brought Parks home with a deep sac-fly.

Wollan was 9-for-15 with a walk and two RBI in the four-game series against Pierce.

“He is hot right now. He’s seeing the ball well and being aggressive,” said Emsley-Pai of his cleanup hitting first baseman from W.F. West.

The Blazers’ coach said he was encouraged by the strides his charges have been making in recent weeks.

“This team is just getting tougher every day. I’ve just seen them transform. I know after that win at Lower Columbia our confidence is a little different and we’re just trying to carry that over and keep expecting to do good things,” Emsley-Pai said. “This series the record didn’t show how well we played. Hats off to our guys for battling all weekend”

Centralia (8-24, 3-9 league) will host Grays Harbor on Wednesday at 5:30 for a single league contest.

At Centralia

Game 1

BLAZERS 2, RAIDERS 0

Pierce 000 000 000 — 0 5 0

Centralia 000 000 20X — 2 9 0

Batteries: Pierce — Ryan Ancheta, Jamie Maples (8) and Clay Spacher; Centralia — Josh Myer and Tysen Paul

Game 2

RAIDERS 5, BLAZERS 2 (7 inn.)

Pierce 010 210 1 — 5 6 0

Centralia 000 200 0 — 2 4 3

Batteries: Pierce — Tucker Stroup, Ashton Duffer (6) and Alex Sisley; Centralia — Adrian Stacy, Marco Quintero (6), Zach Blake (7) and Gavin O’Donnell

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