Tacoma – A baseball coach can always find some aspect of the game his team can improve upon.
But even Timberline coach Derek Weldon had a hard time pinpointing exactly where the Blazers could have been better in their 14-0, five-inning win over Wilson in the Narrows League 3A tournament title game Thursday night at Heidelberg Park.
“We’re playing well,” Weldon said. “I’m happy with our effort and execution and all the little intangibles you need to do to win.”
Timberline has been doing a lot of winning lately. The 10th-ranked Blazers (18-2) have won 16 straight games and are one victory from qualifying for the state playoffs for the third time in five years.
Timberline’s opponent in the quarterfinals of the West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament is yet to be determined. Wilson (10-7) will host the Greater St. Helens League’s No. 4 seed at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Heidelberg.
The Blazers made quick work of the Rams. Starting pitcher Charlie Hinson powered through Wilson’s lineup, striking out 10 and walking none in four innings. The 6-foot-4 junior scattered three hits and did not allow a runner past second base.
“This was one of my better outings,” Hinson said. “I beat Wilson earlier this year, but I was a lot sharper this time.”
Timberline was equally dominant at the plate, collecting 15 hits and seven walks.
Daniel Padilla, the No. 9 hitter, went 3-for-3 with a triple, an RBI and a run. Colin McCusker, Ryan Tydingco, Robbie Ortiz, Ben Smith and Colin Patterson each had two hits. Smith and Tydingco had three RBI apiece.
The Blazers broke the game open with an eight-run second inning. They added four in the third and two in the fourth on their way to clinching the league’s top seed to the bi-district tournament.
The Blazers know what it takes to make a run deep in the postseason. Timberline reached the state semifinals in 2009 and finished fourth.
“We want to win state, no doubt about it,” Hinson said. “The experience of getting fourth in 2009, that should help us.”
Weldon knows the path will only become more challenging.
“We’ve got to keep working,” he said, “It’s not just going to happen to us. We’ve got to earn what we want.”