CENTRALIA — Wilder Senior’s outstanding summer season came to a close a few wins shy of a state title with a 10-0 loss to the Vancouver Mavericks at the American Legion AAA State Baseball Tournament at Wheeler Field on Wednesday.
It was Wilder’s second loss at state to the Mavericks, the other an 11-6 defeat last Sunday. Wilder finished state with a 3-2 record.
Wilder couldn’t get untracked offensively in Wednesday’s game, posting just five hits.
Vancouver starter Josh Mansur allowed three hits and four walks while striking out eight in six innings on the mound to get the win.
“He pitched extremely well,” Wilder coach Karl Myers said. “He was every bit of the upper 80s [mph] and around 90 and was effectively wild with a tough breaking ball. And that’s the kind of competition you are going to see at the state level here and in high school, so it was good to see what that next level is going to be.”
Mansur also went 2 for 4 with a double and two runs in the win and contributed at shortstop.
“That team could just flat-out hit,” Myers said. “They have some big seniors heading off to college next year and they were very good defensively and when [Mansur] wasn’t on the mound he was a playmaker up the middle at shortstop.”
Wilder finished its summer season with a 30-9 record, a share of the American Legion AAA Area 1 NW Region title and tournament victories at Clackamas and as hosts of the Dick Brown Memorial Firecracker Classic.
“This is a group of kids that all summer long were working toward the goal of competing for a state title and never lost sight of that goal,” Myers said.
“They did a great job of also being kids and enjoying summer and balancing the work they needed to do on and off the field. There’s not a single kid on the team that didn’t get better this summer.”
The team, comprised mainly of soon-to-be high school juniors and seniors with some players heading off to begin their college careers, was able to play the equivalent of nearly two full high school seasons this summer.
“For us its not about how many games we jam into a summer,” Myers said. “The way we structure our schedule with American Legion, almost every single one of our games this summer was meaningful. The kids had a direction and they enjoyed playing for something. There were a lot of opportunities for guys to sharpen their skills and play together.
“And we also like getting the kids on the road and giving them opportunities to grow not just as ball players but as young men. “
Myers also likes the fit between Wilder and American Legion ball.
“It’s a good thing to be a part of and it fits our mission and what we are trying to accomplish,” Myers said. “The quality of play in the state tournament was no joke, seeds didn’t matter, there were no pushovers in that tournament. We played a lot of really like-minded ball clubs and it was good to talk with opposing coaches and learn from each other.”
Vancouver 10, Wilder 0
Vanc. 0 2 0 0 2 0 6 — 10 10 0
Wilder 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 5 0
WP: Mansur LP: Miller
Vancouver — Mansur 6IP, 3H, 0R, 4BB, 8K; Minich IP, 2H.
Wilder — Miller 6IP, 7H, 4R, ER, 0BB, 6K; Bowen 0.2IP, 3H, 6R, ER, BB, K; Seibel 0.1IP.
Vancouver — Francis 2-4, 2B, 2R, 2RBI; Heiser 3-4, 2R; Donohoe 1-4, R, RBI; Mansur 2-4, 2B, 2R.
Wilder — Wood 3-3, BB, 2B; Jackson 1-4, 2B; Whitman 1-3.
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or at [email protected]