Richland baseball ends with third-place trophy

May 27, 2012 

It wasn’t perfect, wrapped in a neat bow.

That’s not how this Richland baseball team opperates.

But it was quintessential Bomber ball: a lot of singles mixed in with a lot of base running, spiced up with strong pitching and some defensive gems, with just a dash of drama added at the end.

Hunter Chambers and Dillan Klute delivered RBI singles during Richland's six-run second inning, and Levi Broeske was in full control on the mound through six innings as the Bombers beat the Todd Beamer Titans 10-7 in the Class 4A third-place game Saturday afternoon at Gesa Stadium in Pasco.

Richland (22-6) claimed its sixth consecutive state trophy and 11th in program history, matching last season’s third-place finish.

“It’s not the one we wanted, obviously,” said senior second baseman Nate Ruane, who came on to pitch in the seventh and struck out the two batters he faced to snuff out Beamer’s rally. “But we ended the season on a win, and that’s great.”

Richland coach Ben Jacobs called the third-place game a character test — both team’s coming off losses the previous day that ended season-long state title hopes.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two teams was this: Despite their three errors, when the Bombers needed a play in the field, they got one ... and then got some more.

In the same vein as Dalton Johnson’s web-gem catch in left Friday evening, they were back at it Saturday afternoon, with Ruane’s diving stop at second ending the first inning, and Elijah Gardaya’s tumbling catch on the warning track in left ending the second.

“It gets you momentum, gets you pumped up when you see other people freaking out after a diving catch,” said Johnson, who had two hits and scored three runs from the No. 9 hole in the lineup.

Richland took charge with a six-spot in the second inning, a combination of big hits (Gibson McGeorge’s one-out double to get it started, and the singles from Chambers and Klute) and Beamer mistakes.

The most costly mistake came on a ball Connor Moore lined to left. Titans outfielder Daniel Lee had a track on it, but the ball bounced off his glove. With the bases loaded, two runs scored on what would have been a sacrifice fly and the second out.

Another run scored when Corey Morris was hit with the bases loaded — the first of six Richland batters to take one for the team — and a throwing error on a hopper up the middle plated the final run.

It was plenty of cushion for Broeske, as the junior gave up two runs in the third but had an easy time of it through six with only four hits against him.

“Levi came out and had great velocity, great control,” Jacobs said.

The Titans (18-8) took a five-run bite out of the Bombers' 10-2 margin heading into the final inning as Richland's usually sound defense made a pair of miscues. But Ruane came in with one out and the tying run at the plate, and he slammed the door closed with a pair of strikeouts.

“It ain’t easy,” Jacobs summed up. “But honestly, we played a great tournament. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get to the championship game.”

Klute, Morris and Johnson each had a pair of hits for the Bombers, who woke up their bats after losing 1-0 in the semifinals Friday with an 11-hit outburst.

“We won 22 games this year,” Jacobs said. “With Wenatchee, Davis, Mead, Gonzaga Prep, we faced some tremendous pitchers down the stretch, and we played great defense.

“I just can’t say enough about these kids.” Richland 061 020 1 — 10 11 3

Todd Beamer 002 000 5 — 7 7 4 Levi Broeske, Nate Ruane (7) and Corey Morris; Scott Sunitsch, Sam Kosbab (2), Richie Apigo (4), Taylor Davis (7) and Kepa Sharpe. Highlights—Morris (R) 2x4, RBI, 2R, SB; Dillan Klute (R) 2x4, RBI, 2B, SB; Gibson McGeorge (R) 2x4, 2B; Dalton Johnson (R) 2x3, 3R, 2 SB; Broeske (R) 6.1IP-7H-7R-1ER-4K-4BB.

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