PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles pitchers Adam Watkins and Wyatt Hall combined on a 1-hitter as the Riders pulled past Olympic 3-1 in a bit of a pitchers’ duel Friday at Civic Field.
Watkins went a solid five innings on the mound, yielding only one hit, a single to open the top of the fifth. He allowed an unearned run,while striking out three and walking none.
Backing him up at shortstop, Hall had a good view of Watkin’s outing.
“He looked good. He threw a lot of strikes obviously, he threw 40-some pitches in five innings so he was really efficient,” Hall said. Everybody was, it was a pretty quick game. We both threw strikes and so did their guys.”
Port Angeles coach Casey Dietz was pleased with Watkins’ performance.
“Adam has built on every appearance he has made,” Dietz said. “We extended him today and he did well at mixing his pitches.
“We do a lot of flat ground work and a lot of throwing at practice every day and Adam has been really intentional about working on his finishing, working on his mechanics and staying compact and he’s continued that when he toes the rubber out there.”
Hall came on in relief and minus a walk, was relatively flawless over the final two innings, striking out three to earn the win.
“Being relatively untested early [in the season], he did a good job of filling it up,” Dietz said. “He stayed tight around the strike zone and was sharp.”
Olympic’s lone run came as a result of a pair of Riders errors and some inattention defensively.
With a runner on second, a snap throw from Port Angeles catcher Jacob Felton went past first baseman John Vaara. Right fielder Elijah Flodstrom fielded the ball but didn’t hit the cutoff or try to throw home for a play at the plate and the runner scored from second.
A team meeting in the break that followed the Riders’ next turn at bat reemphasized that despite that rough half-inning, Port Angeles was still playing solid baseball.
“Coaches really just said to keep playing like we were. We had a little rough spot but we got through it,” Hall said.
With Olympic pitcher Brayden Buchanan on his game, Port Angeles took what was available, scoring its runs on a combination of small ball and a big RBI single by Ty Bradow.
“Hats off to them, they had a really good pitcher who held us in check a little bit,” Dietz said. “We tried to get some things going on the base paths that didn’t pan out but that’s baseball and we had to resort to some small ball, execution-type stuff. That’s stuff that we work on we have confidence running the bags and making good reads out there.
“We have a lot of really athletic guys and we let them run.”
Hall scored the tying run when he opened the fourth inning with a blast to right-center field that bounced off the Olympic center fielder’s glove. Hall reached third base on the error and scored on a wild pitch by Buchanan.
Buchanan was pulled after four innings and the Riders looked primed to take the lead when leadoff hitter Ty Bradow walked and Kamron Meadows spanked a seeing-eye single through the gap between shortstop and third.
But the Riders were unable to advance the runners and it came down to the bottom of the sixth.
Flodstrom drew an inning-opening walk, Watkins reached base on an error that sent Flodstrom to third and he pulled Port Angeles ahead when he came home on a passed ball.
Bradow then ripped an RBI single to center to add an insurance run.
Hall pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning to seal the win.
Port Angeles (4-1) visits Olympic on Monday.
Port Angeles 3, Olympic 1
Oly. 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 — 1 1 2
PA 0 0 0 1 0 2 x — 3 5 3
WP: Hall LP: Buchanan
Olympic — Buchanan 4 IP, R 3 H, 3 K, 0 BB; Hennessey IP, 0 R, H, BB.
PA — Watkins 5 IP, R, H, 2 K, 0 BB; Hall 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 3 K, BB.
PA — Hall 1-2, 2B, ROE, R; Bradow 1-1, BB, RBI; Meadows 1-3; Watkins 1-2, ROE; Seibel 1-1.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected]