Weekend Legion Baseball: Dirtbags Trip in Defense of ‘17 Aaron Foote Memorial Title
By The Chronicle
HOQUIAM – Rural Baseball Inc. was unable to conjure the same good fortune here this weekend that they mustered last year when they won the Aaron Foote Memorial Tournament championship, finishing this year’s tournament with just a 2-3 record.
The Dirtbags (18U) started the weekend off on the right foot with a walkoff win over the Aberdeen Black Cats on Friday but then dropped two games on Saturday to fall into the free swinging Sunday consolation bracket where they were able to avenge an earlier loss before falling to a familiar foe.
The Dirtbags fell behind 4-0 early in Friday evenings contest before turning the ball over to Cody Towns, of Toledo, who pitched four scoreless innings to keep his team within striking distance and ultimately earn the win. RBI waited until the fifth inning to begin to mount their comeback when they scored two runs on a single from Ryan Pedersen of Chehalis. In the bottom of the seventh inning RBI loaded the bases up with a walk and a pair of hits before Cameron Bowen, of Chehalis, took a baseball to the ribs to drive in a run. One batter later, Towns was drilled in the back to bring in another run and put the winning run on third base. Then, with an 0-2 count on the next batter the pitcher climbed the ladder for the strikeout but the ball popped out of the catcher’s mitt and Seth Butler, of Napavine, was able to slide home safely for the win. Erik Cervantes, of Centralia, was 3 for 4 with two runs scored and a stolen base in the game while Butler and Austin Cantrell, of Rainier, Ore., added a hit each.
Saturday was not as kind to the Rural Baseball Inc. contingent and the Dirtbags, playing with just 10 players, dropped the early game by a score of 10-0 to the KWRL Mavericks. A six-run second inning gave the Mavs all the wiggle room they would need. Cantrell was a lone bright spot for the Dirtbags in the contest, pitching 2.2 innings of scoreless relief with 6 strikeouts while also going 2 for 2 at the plate.
In Saturday’s nightcap, the Dirtbags fell to the South Sound Diablos 9-7 in a seesaw battle. South Sound posted a 4-0 lead after three innings in the winner-advances bracket play game before the Dirtbags answered back with five runs of their own in the top of the fourth frame. That rally included hits from Butler and Cantrell and was capped by a bases loaded, bases-clearing triple from Preston Setzer, of Rainier, Ore.
That lead was not long for the world though as the Diablos posted three runs of their own in the bottom half of the fourth. RBI was not ready to tap out though and put up two runs to tie the game up at seven in the sixth inning thanks to a double by Jacob Douglass, of Chehalis, and a single from Cervantes. Again though, RBI was unable to hold their lead as a pair of ill-timed errors led to a corresponding pair of Diablos runs in the bottom of the sixth inning that determined the game.
Looking to bounce back on Sunday morning the Dirtbags were able to pour it on in a rematch with the KWRL Mavericks, which they won 10-0. Cervantes pitched seven shutout innings for the win, adding a hit and a stolen base to earn game MVP honors from the hosts. Pedersen was 2 for 2 in the game with four runs batted in and three runs scored, while Cameron Bowen was 4 for 4, with two runs batted in, three stolen bases and three runs scored.
In their final contest of the weekend, RBI took on the host team from Grays Harbor and fell 3-2 to the ILWU Longshoremen. ILWU notched a run in each of the first three innings to carve out their lasting advantage before RBI battled back to post runs in the sixth and seventh innings and leaving the tying run on second base to end the game.
Cody Towns tossed 3.1 innings of scoreless relief to keep the Dirtbags in the game after falling behind early while Cervantes, Cantrell, Pedersen, Bowen, Setzer, Tyler Nelson, of Rainier, Ore., and Aaron Eklund, of Kelso, each chipped in one hit apiece.
“It was a long weekend and it didn’t go quite like we would have drawn it out but we’re always happy to participate in the Aaron Foote Memorial tournament. It’s a great cause, and the old wood stadium (Olympic) is hard to beat as far as a baseball venue goes,” said RBI skipper Jordan Nailon. “Besides, we went camping and found some fish in the stream. All and all, it wasn’t a half bad way to start a crazy summer.”
Nailon added that newcomer Ryan Pedersen endeared himself to the Dirtbags faithful right out of the gate thanks to his blue collar blocking skills behind the plate.
The Dirtbags (2-3) will travel back to Olympic Stadium on Thursday for a league double header with ILWU.
Aaron Foote Memorial Tournament
At Pioneer Park (Aberdeen)
DIRTBAGS 5, BLACK CATS 4
Aberdeen 013 000 0 — 4 8 0
RBI 000 002 3 — 5 6 0
Batteries: Aberdeen — Timmons, Williamson (6), Watters (7) and N/A; RBI — Tyler Nelson, Cody Towns (4) and Ryan Pedersen
At Olympic Stadium (Hoquiam)
MAVERICKS 10, DIRTBAGS 0 (6 inn.)
RBI 000 000 X — 0 4 4
KWRL 150 031 X — 10 10 0
Batteries: RBI — Cole Bowers, Austin Cantrell (3), Seth Butler (5) and Preston Setzer; KWLR — Saul Strong and Joe Eea
At Pioneer Park
DIABLOS 9, DIRTBAGS 7
RBI 000 502 0 — 7 8 2
Thurston 202 302 X — 9 11 0
Batteries: RBI — Austin Cantrell and Ryan Pedersen; Thurston — Shanrock and McKurckle
At Olympic Stadium
DIRTBAGS 10, MAVERICKS 0
RBI 020 013 4 — 10 10 1
KWRL 000 000 0 — 0 3 1
Batteries: RBI — Erik Cervantes and Ryan Pedersen; KWRL — Stokes, Strong (4), Roungley (7) and T. Leonard
At Pioneer Park
LONGSHOREMEN 3, DIRTBAGS 2
RBI 000 001 1 — 2 7 1
Grays Harbor 111 000 X — 3 5 1
Batteries: RBI — Cole Bowers, Cody Towns (4) and Ryan Pedersen; Grays Harbor — Westin and Rivery