By Pierre LaBossiere
Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — Wilder Baseball Club settled for a co-championship of the NW Area 1, splitting a doubleheader with a talented co-champion Lakeside AAA club, though the area team will be the league’s No. 2 seed at the state American Legion tournament.
Both teams came in to Wednesday’s doubleheader with one league loss. Wilder won the early game 4-3 on Wednesday and could have won the league championship outright with a victory in the evening game. But, Lakeside’s pitching was too tough in Game Two, giving up just three hits in an 8-1 Wilder loss.
Because Lakeside had a bigger margin of victory in the split, that team will be the NW Area 1 No. 1 seed going in to the state tournament that begins July 28 in Centralia.
“[Lakeside] is traditionally the best team in the league,” said coach Karl Myers. “[Game one] was a good win for us.”
Wilder got outstanding pitching performances in the early contest that was a taut pitchers’ duel all game long. Hayden Woods started, going five innings and giving up just one earned run on four hits and zero walks. Meanwhile, Jared Jongejan matched Woods nearly pitch for pitch, going a full six innings, and giving up three earned runs on eight hits.
“Hayden was solid all day. Our infield play was great,” Myers said. He particularly cited the defense of Gavin Guerrero at short and Milo Whitman at second.
Wilder got off to a nice start, getting RBI singles from Guerrero and Bo Bradow to take a 2-0 lead.
Wilder tacked on a run in the third with an RBI double by Tyler Bowen in the gap to score Johnnie Young, who had gotten on with a single.
In the sixth inning, Wilder got what turned out to be a very crucial insurance run when Ian Miller laced a double just fair down the left-field line and then Brody Merritt drove him in with a single to make it 4-1.
Merritt, who came in to pitch in relief in the sixth inning, cruised in the sixth, thanks to a double play turned by second baseman Milo Whitman, who caught a line drive and then doubled up a runner on first.
But, the seventh inning was a nervous adventure for Wilder. Merritt plunked leadoff hitter Justin Buckner, then after a walk and a single, Lakeside had the bases loaded with nobody out. A balk was called on Merritt to score one run to make it 4-2, and a groundout scored a runner from third base to make it 4-3. With two outs and the tying run on third base, Merritt got out of the jam by getting a fly ball out, earning a save.
“There’s no panic with this team,” said Myers.
Bowen was 2 for 3 in the game with two doubles, a run and an RBI, while Young was 2 for 3 with two runs scored.
Wilder 4, Lakeside 3
Lakeside 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 — 3 5 1
Wilder 2 0 0 0 0 1 X— 4 8 1
WP: Woods LP: Jongejan SV: Merritt
Lakeside — Jongejan 6IP, 8H, 3ER, 4K, 0BB.
Wilder — Woods 5IP, 4H, ER, 3K; Merritt 2IP, H, 2ER, K, 2BB.
Lakeside — Buckner 1-2, 2R; Crockett 1-3, RBI.
Wilder — Young 2-3, 2R; Bowen 2-3 2 2B, R, RBI; Wood 1-3, R; Miller 1-3, RBI.
In the second game, Wilder was right in it until the sixth inning, trailing just 3-1 behind a solid start from Ian Miller when Lakeside broke through with a big inning, scoring five runs in the sixth to take a commanding 8-1 lead.
Miller went five innings, giving up six hits and three earned runs, while striking out five.
Lakeside’s Justin Buckner gave up just three hits and no walks in the win. Joel Wood, Young and Guerrero all had hits, with Young driving in a run on a sac fly.
Wilder (12-2 in league, 25-5 overall) began play in the Red Devil Classic Thursday in Centralia.
Myers said he felt good about the team’s chances even in that second-game loss until Lakeside broke through for the five runs in the sixth. Overall, he feels his team is on solid footing heading into the state tourney.
“We’re feeling pretty good about where we’re at,” he said.
Lakeside 8, Wilder 1
Lakeside 0 0 3 0 0 5 0 — 8 9 1
Wilder 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 3 1
WP: Buckner LP: Miller
Lakeside — Buckner 7IP, 3H, ER, 7K, BB
Wilder — Miller 5IP, 6H, 3ER, 5K, BB; Shimko 1IP, 3H, 5ER, 2BB; Seibel 1IP 0H, 0ER BB.
Lakeside —T. Reese 2-2, R, 2RBI; Motta 2-3, R, 2RBI, C. Chan 1-4, R, 2RBI.
Wilder — Wood 1-3, R; Young 1-3, RBI, SF; Guerrero 1-3.
Wilder Jr. wins big
PORT ANGELES — Wilder Jr. locked up a share of the NW Area 2 AA League championship, by crushing North Kitsap 16-3 behind a five-RBI day from Jacob Felton and a four-hitter from a quartet of pitchers.
Felton went 3 for 3 in Wednesday’s game with a double and his five RBIs, while Timmy Adams had another big day, going 2 for 3 with two doubles, scoring a run and driving in three. Wyatt Hall was 2 for 3 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI. Tanner Price had a double and a run scored, while Lucas Jarnigan was 1 for 2 with a run, an RBI and a walk. Mason Nickovich and Michael Grubb each scored three runs.
On the mound, Adams went two innings, giving up one hit and striking out three without giving up a run. Carson Ness, Nickovich and Adam Watkins each pitched an inning, each giving up a run. Nickovich struck out three in his one inning of work.
Wilder Jr. (7-1, 14-10), has a two-game lead over 7-3 Lower Columbia. The two teams split a doubleheader earlier this summer. Wilder Jr. just needs to win one game out of two again Ridge on Monday to clinch sole possession of the league title.
Wilder Jr. 16, North Kitsap 3
NK 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 — 3 4 5
Wilder 1 5 (10) 0 X — 16 12 0
North Kitsap — Prater 2.1IP, 6H, 8ER, 2K, 5Bb; Davis 0.1IP, 4H, 2ER, K, 2BB; T. Doty 1.1IP 2H, BB.
Wilder — Adams 2IP, H, 0ER, 3K; Ness 1IP, 0H ER, K; Nickovich 1IP, H, 0ER, 3K; Watkins 1IP, 2H, ER, BB.
North Kitsap — D. Doty 3-3, R, RBI.
Wilder — Felton 3-3, 2B, 5RBI; Adams 2-3, 2 2B, R, 3RBI; Hall 2-3, 2R, RBI, BB; Jarnigan 1-2, R, RBI, BB; Price 1-2, 2B, R; Grubb 0-0, 3R, 2BB; Nickovich 0-1, 3R.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]