The Cougars had patience at the plate, put the ball in play and got some timely breaks in a 14-2 victory over North Thurston. The game was the Class 3A Western Cascade Conference opener for both teams.
The Cougars didn’t hit a lot of balls hard, but took advantage of a big third inning. Jason Monda, who will sign a letter of intent today to play at Washington State, capped a nine-run third inning with a three-run double to center field to break open the game. Suddenly, Capital’s 1-0 lead going into the top of the third was 10-0, thanks to five hits. Monda was 2-for-2 – both extra-base hits – and had four RBI.
“Offensively, we’re getting the hits when we need to get them,” Capital coach Eric Stark said. “So far, things have worked out.”
Capital (8-0 overall, 1-0 WCC), ranked second in the first Washington Baseball Poll released this week, has scored double-digit runs in five of its eight games. On Tuesday, it had eight hits, seven walks and three hit batters.
North Thurston (5-5, 0-1) starter Ethan Berchet-Hall went 2 innings, giving up 10 runs on six hits and striking out three batters. He was replaced by Chad Schlittler, who retired the final two batters in the third and gave up two hits the remainder of the game.
“Balls seemed to find the open area (in the third inning),” North Thurston coach Lance Baker said. “(Capital) put the ball in play and put pressure on us. Pretty soon, it was nine runs up there.”
Capital starter Kellen Camus’ rough first inning was all but forgotten as the game progressed. He walked the first two batters he faced on eight consecutive balls, but settled down after a visit to the mound by Stark. Camus finished with 11 strikeouts and gave up two hits in four innings of work.
Stark praised his bench’s play through eight games, which he said is “one of the most talented and deepest benches in a long time.” Junior Blake Ask was 2-for-4 and increased Capital’s lead to 14-1 with a three-run home run to left field in the fifth inning.
Eric McKenzie scored the Rams’ second run on the final play of the fifth, sliding into home just before Berchet-Hall was called out at second base to end the game on the 10-run mercy rule.
The two teams play again at 4 p.m. today at Capital’s field to conclude a home-and-home series.
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473