BEAVER — Riley Pursley’s two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the fifth broke open a 2-2 tie and Forks held on for a 4-3 win over the Kalama Chinooks in a district baseball semifinal played Thursday at Fred Orr Field.
The Spartans (10-2) advanced to the Class 2B Southwest District Championship game against Toutle Lake (15-0) on Saturday (after press deadline) at W.F. West High School in Chehalis.
“It was a fun one, it was a nail-biter,” Spartans coach Jason Richards said of the win over Kalama.
“[Pursley’s hit] was huge and some aggressiveness on the basepaths helped us as well, we were able to take advantage of a couple of miscues by Kalama.”
Pursley reached base in the second inning via an error, stole second and scored on a Carter Windle single.
Back-to-back doubles by Logan Olson and Hayden Baker put Forks up 2-0 after three innings.
“That was a close play at the plate with Logan scoring,” Richards said. “That gave us some momentum and kept everybody focused on the game.”
Kalama clawed back, with the Chinooks breathing life into the game with a two-run single to tie the contest up.
With the top of the order at bat in the bottom of the fifth, Forks’ leadoff hitter Dalton Kilmer singled and Olson walked and in between outs, Trey Baysinger walked to load the bases, setting up Pursley’s two-run single to center.
Forks allowed one run in the sixth after letting the leadoff batter double and come around to score, but Olson stepped up late on the hill, including ending the complete game effort with a three-pitch strikeout.
Olson allowed three runs on five hits and no walks and struck out eight in seven innings.
“He was painting corners and doing some great things, hitting his spots and really kind of controlling the game,” Richards said. “He had some good defense behind him when we needed it and it was great to see him end the game with a strikeout. That pumped everybody up for Saturday.”
Forks will have a rematch with the Ducks, a team the Spartans lost a 7-6 game to earlier this season.
“Toutle has a good pitching rotation and looks like we will have a similar matchup going Saturday,” Richards said. “We just have to be a little bit more aggressive on the base paths and a little more selective at the plate in looking at pitches and work through their starter to tire him out.”
Forks 4, Kalama 3
Kal. 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 — 3 5 1
Forks 0 1 1 0 2 0 x — 4 6 1
WP: Olson LP: Cooney
Kalama — Cooney 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 9 K, 3 BB; Imboden 1 IP, 3 K.
Forks — Olson 7 IP, 3 ER, 8 K, 0 BB.
Kalama — Doerty 1-2 2B; Jones 1-3, 2B, R; Cooney 1-3, 2 RBI; Fisher 1-3, R, RBI; Burns 1-3 R.
Forks — Olson 2-2, 2 R, 2B, BB; Baker 1-3, 2B, RBI; Pursley 1-3, R, 2 RBI, 2 SB; Windle 1-3 RBI; Kilmer 1-4, R.
Softball Forks 2, Pe Ell- Willapa Valley 0
PE ELL — Senior Chloe Leverington was nearly perfect in a no-hit effort as the Spartans upended the previously unbeaten Titans in a Class 2B Southwest District softball semifinal Thursday.
Forks (11-2) faced Adna in the district championship at Adna on Saturday (after press deadline).
Leverington struck out 20 of the 21 Titan batters she faced. Leverington hit a batter in the fifth inning to account for Pe Ell-Willapa Valley’s lone baserunner.
“It was pretty awesome,” Forks coach Traci Kratzer said of Leverington’s performance. “I’ve always known she has that capability and last night she turned it on and just did it.”
Pe Ell-Willapa Valley could only manage a grounder in fair play — fielded by Leverington.
But Kratzer said the Spartans had Leverington’s back.
“It was nice to see when you have a pitcher having an awesome game like that that her teammates were there every single time, hustling to foul balls and trying to get to everything,” Kratzer said.
And the Spartans were there to encourage Leverington as the strikeouts piled up.
“Lots of team bonding,” Kratzer laughed.
Forks took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when leadoff hitter Kadie Wood walked and scored on a Keira Johnson double to left center.
“Keira Johnson had two of our four hits last night and she drove Kadie in with a nice line drive double,” Kratzer said.
The Spartans added their second run when Leverington singled, was subbed for a pinch runner and driven in by Colbie Rancourt’s single.
“Pe Ell is a tough team but the girls stayed with it,” Kratzer said.
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or at [email protected]