SPORTS: Wilder Baseball claims second place in state

EPHRATA — Wilder Baseball advanced to regionals after capturing second place at the North Washington Senior Babe Ruth state championships.

Wilder, 2-1 in the tournament, opened state action by beating Spokane 6-2 on Thursday.

The Port Angeles elite team then beat Puget Sound 7-5 on Friday to secure a regional berth before losing 10-4 to host team Columbia Basin River Dogs in the championship game later Friday.

All games were held at Johnson-O’Brien Field, the home stadium for Ephrata High School and the base field for the Columbia Basin Senior Babe Ruth team.

Wilder had some defensive lapses at state, and will need to play better to do well at regionals, Wilder coach Chad Wagner said.

Wilder is the defending regional champion.

Regionals start July 30 in Klamath Falls, Ore. The winner advances to the World Series.

“We did not play very good defense at all this last weekend [at state],” Wagner said.

“If we’re going to be facing better teams [at regionals], which we are, we need to learn that we cannot maximize their opportunities and free bases.

“We have to be able to make plays and trust our defense for pitching to be successful.

“Taking second place at state is quite a feature for these kids, but I know that they want to be able to contend at regionals, and in order to do that we will have work to do this week.

“Back to the grindstone on Tuesday.”

In the state championship game, the River Dogs scored 10 runs on 13 hits, and they had two errors, while Wilder scored four runs on seven hits and had four errors.

Michael Konopaski threw five innings, giving up only three earned runs. The River Dogs scored five unearned runs in those five innings.

Offensively, Larsson Chapman went 2 for 3 while Brett Wright and Brian DeFrang both were 1 for 2 with a run scored each.

Earlier in the day, Wilder beat Puget Sound 7-5 on seven hits and another four errors.

Puget Sound managed 12 hits but also had problems with defense, committing four errors.

Nick Johnston earned the win, throwing six innings, giving up five runs but only one was earned.

He scattered 11 hits while striking out four.

“Nick got hit around a little more then he is used to, but his defense let him down,” Wagner said.

“We should of handled this game. Instead, we were playing catch-up and scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead by two runs.”

Kyle Kelly drove in two with a two-out double while Marcus Konopaski ripped a triple to score Kelly for the go-ahead run.

“It was a great comeback but if we would have taken care of business the way we should have, none of that was necessary,” Wagner said.

Marcus Konopaski led at the plate by going 3 for 4 with an RBI, while Kelly was 1 for 3 with three runs scored and 2 RBI.

In Wilder’s opening game, the North Olympic Peninsula team beat Spokane 6-2.

Kelly pitched a strong six innings, giving up just two unearned runs.

Kevin Herzog was 2 for 3 at the plate with a double and an RBI while Brian DeFrang and Chapman also were 2 for 3 each.

Ryan Mudd went 2 for 3 with an RBI while Devon Courtney was 2 for 4.

“We played an OK game,” Wagner said.

“We were still getting used to the heat, and our team morale was not as high as it usually is.”

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