PORT ANGELES — Beginning in a hole, Wilder Senior quickly left zero doubt of the final outcome.
After what could have been a bad start by giving up three runs in the top of the first inning, Wilder Senior responded by immediately taking firm command of the Dick Brown Memorial Firecracker Classic championship game by scoring 11 runs in the bottom of the first Sunday night.
Wilder went on to beat the Centerfield Roosters 15-5 Sunday night in five innings, taking the tournament title with a perfect 5-0 record. It was also Wilder’s 11th win in a row.
Wilder also played Centerfield Saturday evening to qualify for the championship game. That game was fairly competitive until the sixth inning when Wilder scored three runs and went on to win 8-2.
Wilder outscored its opponents 51-9 in its five wins at the tournament. Last year, Wilder won the tournament as well, but actually lost a game and had to fight back through a consolation bracket to get in the championship game.
“Last year, we had to work a lot” to win, said coach Karl Myers. “This year, they played extremely well. They really earned it.”
After Wilder got down in a 3-0 hole after half an inning, Joel Wood led the bottom of the first with a double to get things started. That was just the beginning of the floodgates opening.
Brody Merritt drove in two runs with a single, Milo Whitman had a two-run double and Tyler Bowen drove in three runs with a two-run single and by getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Three Wilder players were hit by pitches and two more walked to keep the bases clogged all inning.
Damage was done up and down the lineup all game. Nine Wilder players had hits, 11 players scored runs and 10 players drove in runs. Whitman finished the game 2-3 with two runs scored, two RBIs and a double. Bowen had three RBIs for the game and Merritt two, while Wood was 2 for 2 with a run and a double.
After that point, Wilder cruised with Centerfield never getting within six runs. Ian Miller shut down the Roosters bats, going the final three innings and giving up no runs on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
Gavin Guerrero, who had two steals and scored two runs in the championship game and played solid defense the whole tournament at second base, was named the tournament MVP.
“I really wasn’t expecting to get it. I think everyone played well. Anyone could’ve won it,” Guerrero said.
Guerrero said the team’s practices have led to its success this season. That and the fact that the team of mostly Roughriders (along with some valuable contributors from Sequim, Chimacum and Forks) know each other well.
“The coaches push us really hard at practice. We prepare well and really focus. We’ve all played together a really long time,” Guerrero said.
Wilder’s Ethan Flodstrom was named the winner of the tournament’s silver slugger award.
Wilder (15-2 overall, 7-0 in the NW AAA League), enters its “tournament phase” of its season through July, beginning this weekend with four games at the Clackamas Invite in Oregon.
Wilder is in great position for the postseason with a perfect league record. Despite its unbeaten won-loss record, Wilder is a half-game behind first-place Lakeside Recovery (9-1).
In Saturday’s 8-2 win over Centerfield to put Wilder in the championship game, Flodstrom was 3 for 4 with a run scored, a stolen base and an RBI, while Bradow was 2 for 3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Ian Miller was 1 for 4 with two RBIs and Matt Bainbridge had a full scoring line, going 1 for 1 with a run, an RBI and a bases-loaded walk. Gavin Guerrero walked three times, scored a run and stole a base. Joel Wood had a run scored, a stolen base, a walk and two RBIs.
Myers said the kids from Sequim, Chimacum, Forks and Port Townsend are fitting right in with the Port Angeles kids as Wilder rides its 11-game winning streak.
“The coolest part is bringing the kids together. They’re really hitting their stride as a group,” Myers said.
“This year, we’ve really bonded as a team. If someone makes an error, everyone has their back,” said pitcher Hayden Woods.
Wilder 15, Centerfield 5
CF 3 2 0 0 0 — 5 5 0
Wilder (11) 1 0 3 x — 15 11 0
WP: Merritt LP: Newton
Centerfield — Newton 0.1IP, 2H, 6ER, 2BB; Hope 0.2IP, 4H, 5ER, BB; Block 2.2IP, 5H, 4ER, K, 5BB; Reitzenstein 0.1IP, K.
Wilder — Merritt 2IP, 3H, 4ER, 3K, 5BB; Miller 3IP, 2H, 0ER, 4K, BB.
Centerfield — Miller 2-2, R; Yeatley 1-2, R; Ossencop 1-1, RBI; B. Castleberry 1-2, R, RBI, BB.
Wilder — Wood 2-2, 2B, R; Whitman 2-3, 2B, 2R, 2RBI; Bowen 1-1, R, 3RBI, SB; Guerrero 1-3, 2R, RBI, 2SB; Merritt 1-1, R, 2RBI; Wilson 1-1, 2B, RBI; Miller 1-1, 2R, RBI, BB, SB; Woods 1-2, R, RBI, BB; Flodstrom 0-2, R, RBI..
Wilder 8, Centerfield 2
CF 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 — 2 4 2
Wilder 0 3 1 1 0 3 x — 8 9 0
WP: Woods LP: Yeakley
CF — Yeakley 5.2IP, 8H, 4ER, 2K, 8BB; Laurenza 0.1IP, H.
Wilder — Woods 6IP, 4H, 2ER, 4K, 0BB; Shimko 1IP, 0H, 2BB.
CF — Ossencop 1-2, R, BB; Block 1-2; Laurenza 1-2; Reitzenstein 1-3.
Wilder — Bradow 2-3, 2B, R, RBI, BB; Flodstrom 3-4, R, RBI; Wood 0-3, R, BB, 2RBI; Whitman 1-3, R; Woods 1-3, R; Bainbridge 1-1, R, RBI, BB.