Tuesday’s 2A Baseball: Sharp Hits Walk-Off as Tigers Beat Rochester
EvCo: Kolby Sharp’s RBI Double Ends Centralia’s Tight 5-4 League Win Over Warriors
By Aaron VanTuyl
Kolby Sharp wasn’t quite sure if he’d ever notched a walk-off hit before.
Maybe once, the Tigers’ second baseman recalled, back in his Little League days.
Either way, Tuesday’s seventh-inning line drive was a lot sweeter.
Sharp doubled down the left field line with two outs in the home half of the final inning on Tuesday, scoring Jerod Frias all the way from first base to instantly end a 5-4 Evergreen 2A Conference win over Rochester.
The third pitch of the at-bat, delivered by Warrior righthander Cole Wintrip, was just what Sharp was looking for.
“He’d done a good job all night mixing up his speeds, and I just figured if I could get a fastball with a 2-0 pitch it was gonna be the one,” Sharp said. “I took a hack at it, and it got there.”
Wintrip was the hard-luck losing pitcher, working all seven innings for Rochester on an efficient 91 pitches with three strikeouts, two walks and a hit batter.
“He threw two pitches, and he threw them for strikes,” Centralia coach Rex Ashmore said of Wintrip, a senior. “We saw him in the summer and basically did the same thing against us.”
The Tigers pushed across two runs in the second inning on an RBI single from Jerod Frias and a balk call, which would become an important wrinkle three innings later. Centralia took a 4-0 lead in the fourth on an RBI double from Nick Stulken and a run-scoring grounder from Nolan Miller.
Rochester evened things up in a curious fifth inning. Tiger starter Jeremy Wood scattered three hits and cruised through the first four innings, then got two quick outs to start the fifth frame before Wintrip reached on a single.
Rochester’s Jared Winters, up next, fouled off a high fly ball that landed in Centralia’s dugout. Wood, giving chase, ran hard into the dugout fence, but shook off the collision and returned to the mound. In finishing out Winters’ at-bat, though, he was dinged for a pair of balks before Winters doubled to left field to score Wintrip. Another balk scored Wintrip from third; a low throw to third wound up in left field, helping Bodey Smith turn a stolen base into a run; and an error on a ground ball let the tying run score.
“We never really talked too much about that (the collision) maybe playing a part in it, as much as when he got the balk called on him,” Ashmore said of Wood. “He wasn’t really sure what was going on, and I think he got a little flustered.”
Ashmore noted that Wood, one the Tigers’ two top pitchers, is only a sophomore.
“He’s got room to grow, and it’s kind of the reason why we left him out there and let him try to work himself out of it,” he said. “And, again, I will take my chances with him out there any day. He’s been lights-out for us so far this year.”
Jackson Hull, the Tigers’ closer this season, came on to get the final out in the fifth and closed out the game. Hull got two strikeouts to strand the Warriors’ go-ahead run at second in the sixth, then Miller, in left field, caught a shallow fly ball and threw out a runner tagging up from third for a seventh-inning-ending double play when the Warriors had the bases loaded.
That set the stage for Sharp’s late dramatics. With two outs and no runners on, Frias lofted a high fly ball to shallow right field that dropped between a trio of Warrior fielders. Three pitches later, Sharp ended the game.
“That kid’s been money for us all year, offensively and defensively,” Ashmore said. “It’s great for him to come through in that situation for us.”
Colby Steele went 2 for 3 for Centralia, and Frias was 2 for 4.
Wintrip finished 2 for 3 at the plate for Rochester. Winters was 2 for 4, and center fielder Rylee Sommer was 2 for 3 with a double.
“We know those kids over in the dugout, and with Q (Brad Quarnstrom) coaching them, they’re going to compete all the time,” Ashmore said. “We expected nothing but a battle.”
Centralia (5-2, 4-0 league) and Rochester (3-4, 0-4 league) are scheduled to play again Wednesday in Rochester.
White No-Hits Black Hills
TUMWATER — Brandon White was lights-out on the mound and W.F. West cruised in a 6-0 win over Black Hills here Tuesday in Evergreen 2A Conference baseball action.
White, the Bearcats’ 6-foot-8 Washington State University-bound righthander, struck out 14, walked one and hit one in the seven-inning complete game. He faced the minimum 15 batters over the final five innings and needed just 89 pitches in the win.
“We definitely pitched really well. That was probably the sharpest I’ve seen him,” W.F. West coach Bryan Bullock said. “Effecient, was able to use all three of his pitches today. He definitely got us off to a good start.”
Brock Jones went 2 for 5 with a pair of doubles for W.F. West, and Lane Douglass was 2 for 4. Dakota Hawkins and Leandre Gaines each added a double and scored twice.
Hawkins, Jones, Tyson Guerrero and Josiah Johnson all drove in runs.
W.F. West (6-2, 4-0 league) is scheduled to host Black Hills in a rematch on Wednesday.
TIGERS 5, WARRIORS 4
Rochester 000 040 0 — 4 8 1
Centralia 002 200 1 — 5 7 3
Batteries: Rochester — Cole Wintrip and Tyler Soderback; Centralia — Jeremy Wood, Jackson Hull (5) and Colby Steele
BEARCATS 6, WOLVES 0
W.F. West 200 022 0 — 6 10 1
Black Hills 000 000 0 — 0 0 3
Batteries: W.F. West — Brandon White and Drew Reynolds; Black Hills — E. Loveless, Simmons (5), Kiney (6), Burney (7) and Z. Loveless