By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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Wilder Senior vs. Lakeside, 2 p.m.
Wilder Junior vs. Spokane, 5 p.m.
All games at Civic Field
“Brett had a slow start today, but he ended it well,” Wilder Senior manager Mike Politika said.
Wright's single scored pinch runner James Grubb and Dusty Bates.
“I was expecting first-pitch fastball but it was off-speed,” Wright said.
“And I just got a good barrel on it, and it went.
“I thought he [the first baseman] was going to catch it. I was nervous there for half a second.”
Jordan Shepherd came off the bench to open the seventh inning with a pinch-hit double to left-center field.
“Jordan's been doing that all year,” Politika said. “He's been coming in all year and making plays, and that hit sparked us and that got us the win today.
After Spokane starter Andrew Montemayor was pulled with one out and Shepherd at third base thanks to a sacrifice bunt by Tanner Rhodefer, Bates reached base after being hit by the third pitch from reliever Adam Paulson.
Grubb entered as a pinch runner for Shepherd right before the pitching change.
Paulson ended up the loser after Wright's sharply-hit grounder curved around first base
The seventh-inning rally helped Wilder avenge a questionable non-call that allowed Spokane to take the lead in the top of the sixth inning.
With a 1-0 lead after five innings of stellar pitching, Wilder starter Nick Johnston loaded the bases after walking two batters and hitting another, and was pulled with two outs in the sixth inning.
“Top to bottom, that's a good team and Nick came out, did what an ace does and shut them down,” Politika said.
“He started to get tired and I just felt it was time for him to come out. He was at 95-96 pitches and I don't want to have him go over 100 and run him ragged.”
Johnston was frustrated that he couldn't slam the door on Spokane's sixth inning.
“I was disappointed in myself that I couldn't get the ball over the plate,” Johnston said.
“I had two outs, and I started walking guys, but overall I just wanted to win the game.”
Ryan Mudd entered the game for Johnston and yielded a chopper up the middle that was fielded by shortstop Brady Konopaski.
As he fielded the ball and prepared to throw to first, Konopaski's momentum carried him into the base path of Spokane's Austin Bergdahl.
Bergdahl didn't appear to do much to get out of Konopaski's way, and his presence dislodged the ball from Konopaski's hand while two Spokane runners crossed the plate.
“Ball up the middle, I kind of didn't think about it, I could have easily tagged the guy [for the force out] but I tried to throw it,” Konopaski said.
“The guy didn't hit me, but from the umpire's point of view he couldn't tell.
“He [Bergdahl] was running right in front of me, but unless he makes contact then it's fair game.”
With the game possibly swinging on the outcome of the non-call, Politika went out to get an explanation of what the umpires witnessed.
“I thought Brady was coming across ready to make a throw to first and the guy running got in his way,” Politika said.
“I thought there was some interference of some sort out there so I went out there to see what they saw and see what the interpretation was.
“They said they were both converging at the same time and there was no intent by the runner [to commit interference].”
The umpires took a moment to huddle together before ultimately calling the runner safe.
Mudd then retired the next batter to get out of the inning.
He allowed a runner to reach base on a pop single to shallow left field and hit a batter in the seventh inning, before getting Bergdahl to hit into a Konopaski to Larsson Chapman double play to end any threat.
Konopaski accounted for Wilder's first run, slapping a single up the middle that scored Zach Withrow in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Wilder Senior faces Lakeside Recovery at 2 p.m. Saturday at Civic Field.
Wilder Senior 3, Spokane Crew 2
Spokane 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 -— 2 4 3
Wilder Senior 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 — 3 4 1
WP- Mudd; LP- Paulson
Spokane Crew: Montemayor 6 1/3 IP,
Wilder Senior: Johnston 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 K, 3 BB; Mudd 1 1/3 IP, H, HBP.
Spokane Crew: Peha 2-2, 3B, BB; Montemayor 0-2, F/C, 2 RBI; Ross 1-2.
Wilder Senior: Wright 1-3, RBI; Bates 1-1, BB, HBP, R; Konopaski 1-1, RBI, 2 sac bunts; Shepherd 1-1, 2B; Grubb, R.
Columbia Basin 13, Wilder Junior 2
PORT ANGELES — A combination of too many freebies in the field and not enough production at the plate did in Wilder Junior in a 13-2 five-inning loss in the opening game of the Senior Babe Ruth state tournament at Civic Field.
The junior team didn't fare much better in the nightcap, falling 10-0 to Lakeside Recovery.
Wilder committed five errors in the field and yielded 10 walks to the Columbia Basin Desert Dogs in a less than stellar start to the tournament.
Wilder also managed just three hits at the plate in the blowout.
“I think we had nine games in about six or seven days last week so we gave the boys a little time off, and boy, they were a little lackluster in this one,” said Wilder Junior assistant coach Buck Gieseke.
“We need to get the bats going and get the defense a little spruced up before the next game.”
Wilder did hold an early lead, 1-0 after the top of the first inning.
Alex Morris walked and stole second and moved to third base on the throw to first after a Nigel Christian grounder to third.
Morris scored when the throw back to the third base bag by Columbia Basin first baseman Issac Wersland was wild.
Wilder Junior starting pitcher Dan Harker struggled from the start.
He plunked Columbia Basin leadoff batter Sheldon Kosa and followed that up with walks to Jesse Ward and Austin Merdock.
Kosa scored on a Wersland fielder's choice.
Harker then attempted to pick off Wersland at first base but the throw was low and scooted past Wilder first baseman Lane Dotson, plating Ward.
Cooper Larson later lined an RBI single up the middle for a 3-1 lead after one inning.
Columbia Basin put the game well out of reach in the next frame, batting around in the order and putting nine runs on the scoreboard.
Harker recorded just one out in the second before being chased by the Desert Dogs.
He allowed a Zach Askin bunt single to open the inning and Spencer Vela reached base on a throwing error.
After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners over, Askin scored when a throw to home plate went wide.
Harker then allowed a walk to load the bases and consecutive bases-loaded walks, followed by a second RBI single in as many at-bats by Larson.
He left the game with Wilder Junior trailing 7-1.
Wilder's James Thayer came on in relief and promptly plunked the first batter he faced to force home another Columbia Basin run.
Thayer forced Askin to pop to short in his second at bat of the inning but Columbia Basin wasn't finished.
Vela nailed a three-run triple to the gap in right field to go ahead 11-1.
Vela scored the ninth and final run of the inning on another Wilder error.
Wilder scored its other run in the top of the fourth.
Dotson walked and Harker reached base on a fielder's choice. Harker then stole second and reached third on a Columbia Basin throwing error, and then Adam Iseri Fuji plated Harker with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Columbia Basin scored its final run in the bottom half of the inning when Thayer allowed a walk with the bases loaded.
Columbia Basin 13, Wilder Junior 2
Wilder Jr. 1 0 0 1 0 x x -— 2 3 5
Col. Basin 3 9 0 1 x x x —13 6 2
WP- Nielson; LP- Harker
Columbia Basin: Nielson 5 IP, 4 K, 2 BB, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER.
Wilder Junior: Harker 1 1/3 IP, 4 H,0 R, 7 ER, 1 K, 5 BB, 1 HBP; Thayer 2 2/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER
Columbia Basin: Larson 3-3, 2 RBI, R; Vela 1-2, 3B, ROE, 3 RBI, R.
Wilder Junior: Dotson 1-1, BB; Christian FC, RBI; Iseri Fuji sac fly, RBI.