By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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xColumbia Basin Desert Dogs 4-0
zLakeside Recovery (Bellevue) 3-1
Spokane Crew 1-3
Wilder Senior 1-3
Wilder Junior 1-3
x-Earns berth to Senior Babe Ruth World Series in Ephrata.
z-Advances to regional tournament in Vancouver, Wash.
Columbia Basin 4, Lakeside Recovery 2
Wilder Junior 3, Wilder Senior 2
Lakeside Recovery 7, Spokane Crew 3
Columbia Basin 5, Wilder Senior 3
Columbia Basin Desert Dogs 4, Spokane Crew 3
Lakeside Recovery 10, Wilder Senior 6
Spokane Crew 13, Wilder Junior 3
Columbia Basin Desert Dogs 13, Wilder Junior 2
Wilder Senior 3, Spokane Crew 2
Lakeside Recovery 10, Wilder Junior 0
When that same team strands 11 runners on the base paths, complicated becomes nearly impossible.
Wilder Senior learned that lesson the hard way in a 3-2 loss at the hands of brother program Wilder Junior at the Senior Babe Ruth state tournament at Civic Field on Sunday.
The senior squad amassed five hits to go along with seven errors in the loss, which pushed it out of contention for a spot at the Senior Babe Ruth World Series as well as next week's regional tournament.
The Columbia Basin Desert Dogs beat Wilder Senior 5-3 Sunday night to finish the state tournament with a perfect 4-0 record and make the world series, which will be played in Ephrata, the Desert Dogs' home base.
Lakeside Recovery of Belle-vue finished 3-1 to advance to regionals in Vancouver, Wash.
The Spokane Crew joined both Wilder teams in finishing state 1-3.
Wilder Senior beat Spokane, Spokane defeated Wilder Junior, and Wilder Junior beat Wilder Senior.
“We never want to lose to the Juniors,” Wilder Senior head coach Mike Politika said.
“It's not in the plans, but that's why you play the games.”
After three straight losses to open the state tourney, Wilder Junior was playing out the string in its final contest of its season.
Politika was firm when asked if there had been any discussion between the two teams about letting Wilder Senior win in an attempt to keep them alive
in the tournament and potentially send them further in
“Absolutely not. Never,” Politika said.
“I wouldn't want to win that way. If we can't beat that team, we don't deserve to go on to regionals or the world series.”
Nigel Christian came up big on the mound and at the plate for Wilder Junior.
Christian was 2 for 3 at bat with an RBI double and an RBI single.
He also allowed just one run on one hit with four strikeouts and three walks in his four innings in relief of Wilder Junior starter Alex Morris.
“Nigel's always great on the hill,” Wilder Junior head coach John Qualls said. “He competes every single pitch and every at-bat.
“It was a great performance. It's what we were hoping for, and it feels good to end with a win.”
Tanner Gochnour opened the scoring for Wilder Senior, sending a single to left field to score Brady Konopaski, who had earlier reached base with a single, with one out in the top of the third inning.
Wilder Junior answered back with two runs in the bottom half of the third to take the lead.
Mikey Anderson singled to open the inning and moved to second on Alex Morris' single.
Ian Dennis then hit a potential double play ball to shortstop which was fielded by Konopaski and flipped to second baseman Zach Withrow for the force out.
Withrow's throw to first sailed into the Wilder Senior dugout, allowing Anderson to advance safely to home.
Christian then belted a towering double to the base of the 355-foot sign in left field to score Morris.
“I thought it was a home run off the bat so I broke into a home run trot,” Christian said.
“Then I saw it land so I took off for second base to beat the throw.”
Wilder Senior's biggest misfires came in the top of the fifth inning.
Pitcher Travis Paynter struck out Dan Barber and got James Thayer to fly out to center for two quick outs.
Paynter then allowed a single to Morris.
That hit turned costly when a pickoff attempt resulted in a rundown between first and second base.
Wilder Senior first baseman Larsson Chapman's short toss went high over second base and Morris scooted along to third.
The next Wilder Junior batter, Ian Dennis, hit a routine grounder to third baseman Ryan Mudd.
Mudd fielded the ball cleanly, but slipped and failed to complete the throw to first to extend the inning.
Christian then made Wilder Senior pay with a line drive RBI single to score Morris.
“They played a pretty clean game with only two errors and got the hits when they needed a hit,” Politika said.
The mistakes ruined some good work on the mound by Paynter for Wilder Senior.
Paynter went six innings, giving up three runs, none of them earned, on eight hits.
He finished with two strikeouts and no walks.
“Hat's off to Travis,” Politika said. “He battled.
“Like I said, we gave up three unearned runs, and we extended innings and gave them extra opportunities by not making defensive plays.
“Not having that support behind him made it really tough on him.”
Wilder Senior pulled within a run in the top of the sixth inning.
Nick Johnston drew a walk and was replaced on the base paths by James Grubb.
Grubb stole second base after an overthrow from Wilder Junior catcher Ian Dennis, moved to third on a ground out by Ryan Mudd and later scored on a sacrifice ground out by Dusty Bates.
Wilder Senior was able to get the leadoff batter aboard after Christian hit Chapman with a pitch, but couldn't muster a rally with continued postseason play on the line.
“You can't expect to win scoring two runs,” Politika said. “It's not a good way for the team to go out.
“I just feel bad for the seniors right now, and I hope they don't look at this tournament as the whole season. We had a very successful year and I'm very proud of these guys.”
Wilder Senior finished the year with a 21-6 record.
Wilder Junior's season came to a close with the victory.
Wilder Junior 3, Wilder Senior 2
Wilder Senior 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 — 2 5 7
Wilder Junior 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 — 3 8 3
WP- Christian; LP- Paynter
Wilder Senior: Paynter 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 K.
Wilder Junior: Morris 3 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 K, 2 BB; Christian 4 IP, H, R, 3 K, 3 BB.
Wilder Senior: Gochnour 1-4, RBI; Konopaski 1-2, R.
Wilder Junior: Christian 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Morris 2-3, R; Dennis 1-3, RBI.