The dreams of an all-Tri-City championship at the senior American Legion state tournament went ker-splat Monday, with Centralia SoBe thumping the Twin City Titans 16-0 in the first championship semifinal at Jackson Field in Spokane.
Centralia pitcher Derek Putman threw a one-hitter, working around seven walks to the Titans in a game that was shortened to 6 1/2 innings by the 10-run rule.
The Tri-Cities’ other entry, the Hanford Flames, eliminated defending champion Lakeside Recovery 10-7 in an earlier game. The Flames will take their shot at Centralia, the last unbeaten team in the tournament, at 1 p.m. today in the second championship semifinal.
“We couldn’t have an all-Richland state final, but we were getting pretty close,” said Hanford coach Nat Roe. “It’s cool to have two teams from the same town in the final four.”
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The Titans play Yakima Valley, a 10-2 winner over rival Yakima, at 10 a.m. today. Both the Titans and Flames need to win to move on to Wednesday’s final games.
If both Tri-City teams win, they will face off at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the third championship semifinal, with the winner playing Centralia for the state title and a berth into next week’s Northwest regional in Eugene, Ore.
If Hanford loses, then the Twin City-Yakima Valley winner will have to beat Centralia twice Wednesday for the title.
Logan Jackson recorded the lone hit off Putman on the Titans’ first at-bat of the day. A double play erased the runner, and it was relatively calm for Putnam the rest of the way.
Twin City start David Marshall looked like he was on his way to matching Putman with an easy first two innings. But Centralia scratched across a couple runs in the second and struck for seven in the third. An inning that started with a walk and an error moved on to six straight hits and the end of Marshall’s day.
For Hanford, big production from the top of the lineup was the key. Finn McMichael went 4-for-5 in the leadoff spot, setting the table for Isaac Benard and Ryan Neal, who combined for four doubles and five RBIs.
“Our dogs were barking,” Roe said, referring to Hanford’s “big dogs” in the lineup. “Neal with the doubles, Benard with a couple of shots, and McMichael going 4-for-5.”
Neal had the biggest of the big shot, a bases-clearing, two-out double in the eighth inning that gave the Flames some needed insurance.
Roe also raved about the work of reliever Nate Mitchell, who came on with two on and no out in the fifth, got out of it with a double-play ball and then cruised over the final three innings. He gave up just one run in the eighth, with the Flames happily trading it for an out with a four-run lead.
“He was the man,” Roe said of Mitchell, who also got the save in the team’s first-round win over Yakima Valley. “I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Twin City 000 000 0 — 0 1 2
Centralia 002 716 x — 16 15 1
Marshall, Pedroza (4), March (6) and Kjarmo; Putman and Steen. Highlights—Putman (C) 7IP-1H.
Hanford 003 210 130 — 10 13 1
Lakeside 001 500 010 — 7 14 1
Colson, Peterson (4), Mitchell (5) and Browne; Rosen, Huber (8) and Cohen, Reese. Highlights—McMichael (H) 4x5, 2B; Benard (H) 2x5, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Neal (H) 2x5, 2 2B, 3 RBI; Heid (H) 3B.
Yakima Valley 10, Yakima 2
Hanford 10, Lakeside 7
First championship semifinal
Centralia 16, Twin City 0
Game 12, Twin City vs. Yakima Valley, 10 a.m.
Second championship semifinal
Game 13, Centralia vs. Hanford, 1 p.m. (Hanford out if loses)
Game 14, winner 13 vs. winner 12, 10 a.m.
Note: If loser of game 14 suffers first loss, teams play again; if winner game 11 loses game 13, it plays winner of 14