PORT ANGELES — It wasn’t always pretty, but a gritty Wilder Junior squad showed that it’s not a team that will ever quit in a huge come-from-behind walk-off 7-6 win over the Lynden Lightning at Volunteer Field.
After losing a close game earlier Wednesday to an Australian team, Wilder Junior found themselves behind 6-0 early in the fourth inning against the Lightning.
Wilder’s bats were having a hard time getting much going against Lynden’s pitching as they managed just two hits up until that point. But they pulled the game out with six runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and got a game-winning clutch single from Sequim’s Michael Grubb in the seventh to walk off with the victory.
“It felt good,” Grubb said. “I was feeling pretty frustrated because I just couldn’t put the barrel on the ball [until my game-winning hit]”, he said.
The game also featured some gritty pitching from Port Angeles’ Landon Seibel, who came in to the game in the fifth inning with his squad trailing 6-3.
Seibel pitched three scoreless innings, giving up three hits and one walk to earn a well-deserved win while Wilder Junior clawed back with two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to make a game of it.
“Landon came in and gave us some energy,” said coach Zac Moore.
The win puts Wilder Junior at 7-3 in league play (11-7 overall), in solid playoff position only one-half game out of second place in the Area 1 AA League.
Bellingham is 8-3 while Mount Vernon is well ahead of everyone at 12-0.
Moore thought that early in the game, the team lacked focus, but “the game allowed us to get back” as Lynden booted some balls to give Wilder Junior an opportunity to score some runs.
Meanwhile, Wilder Junior played a very clean game in the field, with a pair of great defensive plays and only one error.
Down 6-0 in the third, Wilder Junior finally got some momentum when Kamron Meadows made a great diving catch in center field with the bases loaded to save at least two runs.
After a Silas Thomas single and a Ty Bradow double, Meadows came up in the bottom of the inning and laced a two-run single to get Wilder Junior on the board at 6-2. Grubb picked up an RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 6-3.
Grubb followed up with a nice play in the fifth inning when Lynden got two runners on with one out. He caught a line drive at shortstop and stepped on second base to get an inning-ending double play.
Lynden made three errors in the bottom of the fifth, allowing Wilder Juniorto score two runs.
In the sixth inning, Wilder Juniordidn’t need any help from Lynden. Adam Watkins started a rally with a single, Forks’ Trey Baysinger crushed a deep double to put runners on second and third and Thomas hit an RBI single to make it 6-6.
In the seventh, Wilder Junior caught a break and took advantage. Logan Olson hit a towering, deep drive to center field that went a lot further than the Lynden center fielder thought it was going to go. He sprinted back for the ball too late and it sailed over his head for a double. Grubb promptly ended the game with a sharp no-doubt single.
Baysinger finished the game 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Grubb was 2 for 4 with two RBIs, Thomas was 2 for 3 with two runs scored, an RBI and a walk, while Olson was 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI. Meadows was 1 for 4 with a run and two RBI.
Wilder Jr. 7, Lynden 6
Lynden 0 3 0 3 0 0 0 — 6 11 4
Wilder 0 0 0 3 2 1 1— 7 11 1
Wilder Jr. — Hildebrandt 3IP, 4H, 3ER, 3K, 3BB; Woods 0.2IP, 4H, 3ER, 2BB; Bradow 0.1IP, 2BB; Seibel 3IP, 3H, K, BB.
Wilder Jr. — Baysinger 3-4, 2B, R; Thomas 2-3, 2R, RBI, BB; Grubb 2-4, 2RBI; Olson 2-5, 2B, R, RBI; Meadows 1-4, R, 2RBI; Bradow 1-1, 2B, R.
Australia 3, Wilder Junior 2
In Wilder Junior’s first game of the afternoon, they took on Australia White, one of three Australian travel teams on the North Olympic Peninsula this week to play in the Dick Brown Firecracker Invitational.
Australia White won a close one 3-2, scoring a run in the seventh inning to pull out a win.
Wilder Junior got a great pitching performance from Silas Thomas, who went 6 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and just one earned run with seven strikeouts and a no walks. Adam Watkins pitched 2/3 of an inning, striking out both batters he faced.
“Silas pitched one of his best games of the year,” said Moore.
But, Wilder Junior was only able to manage three hits against Australia.
Hildebrandt, Meadows and Ripley had Wilder Junior’s hits in that game. Hildebrandt had an RBI and Ripley and Grubb scored Wilder Junior’s runs.
Australia White 3, Wilder Jr. 2
Aussie 0 3 0 3 0 0 0 — 3 9 2
Wilder 0 0 0 3 2 1 1— 2 3 3
Wilder Jr. — Thomas 6.1IP, 9H, ER, 7K, 0BB; Watkins 0.2IP, 2K.
Wilder Jr. — Olson 0-4, RBI; Hildebrandt 1-3, RBI; Meadows 1-3; Ripley 1-3, R.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]