The Hanford Flames have been to the Washington State Senior American Legion state tournament before three times in a row, in fact, after Sundays 4-3 win over the Spokane North Stars at the regional tournament in Centralia.
But rarely do they grab the No. 1 seed.
With the score tied at 3 in the bottom of the ninth, Jake Browne hit a leadoff single off Spokane reliever Ryan Olson and stole second to put the winning run in scoring position. Brady Heid then hit a hard grounder to North Stars second baseman Evan Norden, who had made several key defensive plays to prevent runs from scoring in the early innings.
But Norden misjudged the ball on a short hop, and it skipped right through his legs, allowing Browne to score and give Hanford a 4-3 win.
I felt so bad for (Norden). The same kid made three catches in short right and also made a diving stop on another ball. He kept them in it, Flames coach Nat Roe said.
Jacob Anderson was a rock for Hanford, striking out six batters over eight innings before Nate Mitchell came in to pitch the ninth. Mitchell earned the win.
Offensively, Finn McMichael, Isaac Benard, Ryan Neal and Colin Serkowski each had two hits for the Flames, who piled up 12 hits.
Were still hitting like weve been hitting, but we were hitting it right at them, Roe said. Our guys just stayed with it.
The state tournament begins Saturday in Spokane.
Four other teams from the Central Washington League earned spots to state.
The Twin City Titans, which beat Gig Harbor 13-1 in the consolation final, earned the No. 2 seed out of the Kennewick regional. Hanford took the top seed at Centralia, while the Yakima Beetles and Yakima Valley Pepsi Pak also punched their ticket.
Spokane North Stars 000 000 210 3 13 2
Hanford Flames 101 010 001 4 12 0
David Yoppini, Ryan Olson (7) and Rupert House; Jacob Anderson, Nate Mitchell (9) and Aaron Enderlin, Jake Browne (6). HighlightsAnderson (H) 8 IP, 6 Ks; Finn McMichael (H) 2x4; Isaac Benard (H) 2x3; Ryan Neal (H) 2x5; Colin Serkowski (H) 2x4.
Kennewick 12, Gig Harbor 5: The Bandits piled on Gig Harbor early, building a 6-0 lead after two innings to earn the No. 1 seed out of the Kennewick regional and a spot in the Senior American Legion state tournament beginning Saturday in Spokane.
Steven Sordahl hit a two-run double in the second inning to put the Bandits up 4-0, and Clayten Ayres added an RBI single.
Ayres shined for Kennewick, going 4-for-6 with a double and three RBIs. J.J. Hancock went 3-for-6 with a double, a triple and an RBI.
Connor ONeil struck out seven batters in six full innings before being relieved by Ayres in the seventh. Mark Driver tossed a scoreless ninth to close things out for Kennewick.
Gig Harbor 001 001 120 5 10 4
Kennewick Bandits 241 003 11x 12 16 1
Evan Daley, Aiden ONeill (6) and Colton Rishel, Jason Wise (6); Connor ONeil, Clayten Ayres (7), Mark Driver (9) and Dillon Wilbert, J.J. Hancock (8). HighlightsTyler Moore (GH) 2x4, 2 RBI; Drew Nordi (GH) 2x5; Hunter Johnson (GH) 2x5, 2B, RBI; ONeil (K) 7 Ks, 1BB, 1 ER; Connor Morfin (K) 1x2; Kaden Julian (K) 2 BB, RBI; Kyle Killian (K) 2x4; Addison Spivey (K) 1x2; Ayres (K) 4x6, 2B, 3 RBI; Hancock (K) 3x6, 2B, 3B, RBI; Grant Lathim (K) 1x1; Mason Mahan (K) 2 BB, RBI; Vince Gonzalez (K) 2x4, 2B; Steven Sordahl (K) 2x4, 2B, 2 RBI.
Twin City earns state berth: Mason Hilty and David Marshall each tossed complete-game wins for the Titans to land Twin City in the state tournament for the 12th consecutive season.
Hilty struck out seven batters without a walk in a 13-3 win over Northeast 49ers to open the day. The Titans exploded out of the gate for seven first-inning runs and built an 11-0 lead after three innings. Garrett March provided much of the firepower with three RBIs. Ty Earley and Dylan Keech added two RBIs apiece.
Against Gig Harbor, Twin City fell behind 1-0 in the fourth inning but Marshall held them off after that while the Titans scored three runs in the fifth to take the lead and padded their lead with two more in the sixth.
We had the pitching in place. It really comes down to Hilty and Marshall throwing well and keeping their offense down, said Titans skipper Pete Marquez. Then we proceeded to hit the ball well.
We were able to take care of ourselves in the heat. The two teams were from out of the area, and it was pretty hard on them.
Twin City 722 010 1 13 10 2
Northeast 001 002 0 3 5 4
Mason Hilty and Ty Earley; Cain, Sweat (4) and Wellusell. HighlightsHilty (TC) 2 hits, 7 Ks; Garrett March (TC) 2 hits, 3 RBIs; Earley (TC) 2 RBI; Dylan Keech (TC) 2 RBI; Wellusell (N) 2 hits.
Twin City 000 032 8 13 13 0
Gig Harbor 000 100 0 1 1 6
David Marshall and Tyler Kjarmo; Young and Moore. HighlightsMarshall (TC) 5 Ks, Hunter Chambers (TC) 3 hits; Logan Jackson (TC) 2 hits, 2 RBIs; Alex Storaci (TC) 2 hits; Nate Ruane (TC) 3 RBI; Nordi (GH) RBI.
Senior Babe Ruth state tourney: Three Rivers Blue overcame a 4-3 loss to Prairie Hardball in their first game to beat Three Rivers Red 5-4 to earn the right to play for a state championship today.
Against Three Rivers Red, Anthony Robison drove in Jimmy Gifford and Donovan Percifield with a two-run single in the top of the sixth to put Blue up 4-3, and Damon Taylor scored on a passed ball in the top of the seventh to make it 5-3.
They needed the extra run, as Red would score one in the bottom half of the seventh.
Three Rivers Blue will play the winner between K.H. Kelly of Longview and Center Field Baseball at 4 p.m. today. The winner will play at 7 p.m. for the state championship.
Blue had a few bad breaks against Prairie. Gifford appeared to score from third on a sacrifice fly to left center before Ethyn Langlois got thrown out at third, but the umpires saw it differently. Blue also had runners thrown out at home in the third and sixth innings.
Prairie Hardball 210 000 1 4 10 2
Three Rivers Blue 100 020 0 3 6 0
Taylor, Bos (5) and Vick; Ethyn Langlois and Paden Kottwitz. HighlightsColby Wakefield (TR) 3B; Jimmy Gifford (TR) RBI; Langlois (TR) 2 RBI; Damon Taylor (TR) 2x3.
Three Rivers Blue 001 003 1 5 9 2
Three Rivers Red 101 010 1 4 7 2
C.Wakefield, Johnson (6) and Shane Oldham, Kottwitz (6); Carl Robb, Mike Weeber (7) and Ashton McRoberts. HighlightsCol.Wakefield (B) 3x4; Garrett Willard (B) 2x3; Anthony Robison (B) 2B, 2 RBI; Weeber (R) 2B; Robb (R) 2x3; Keegan Shepherd (R) RBI.