Little things mean a lot in Thunderbirds’ shutout

mwochnick@theolympian.comMarch 30, 2013 

TUMWATER — When teams can’t produce runs early against quality pitching, they often turn to small ball.

That’s what Tumwater did in its 3-0 shutout of previously unbeaten Black Hills in a Friday afternoon 2A Evergreen Conference baseball game that took a swift 1 hour, 26 minutes to complete at Tumwater High School.

The Thunderbirds needed to support sophomore Elijah Hill’s best outing of the season. The 6-foot-3 right-hander threw a complete-game shutout, allowing just three hits and striking out six batters – five of them swinging – against an offense that averaged 8.8 runs a game and hadn’t been shut out.

“This was huge,” said Hill, who improved to 3-0. “It felt good to get into a roll before spring break started.”

The T-Birds (6-3 overall, 5-3 2A EvCo) notched the win with steals, hit-and-runs, and good baserunning.

Although they mustered just four hits off Black Hills starter Austin Lee, who threw a gem of his own on 68 pitches, they made their hits count.

Justin Graham’s RBI single to right scored Richard Schmidt, a pinch runner for Hill, who notched the team’s first hit in the bottom of the third. And in the sixth, still nursing a 1-0 lead, Tumwater put up two runs on a Anthony Correia’s single and a throwing error.

Lee did everything he could to keep the first-place Wolves (6-1 overall, 5-1 EvCo) in the hunt for the win. In addition to throwing a complete-game four-hitter, he accounted for two-thirds of the Wolves’ offense with a single and a double in his first two plate appearances.

But mental errors on the basepaths hurt the Wolves. Three times – in the second, third and sixth innings – Black Hills runners were thrown out at third base, including a pickoff to end the sixth. Another Black Hills scoring chance came in the fourth, when it had a runner on second after catcher Kris O’Bannon doubled. But Hill worked out of the jam, striking out Taylin Parr looking to end the inning.

“He’s coming into form,” Weeks said of Hill. “He stepped up today. He is the perfect mentality pitcher. He goes out and does his job.”

In spite of the loss, the six wins by Black Hills already has equaled its win total from 2012 when it went 6-14.

North Thurston 13, Foss 0: Senior Tyler Ridgeway threw a complete-game one-hitter, striking out nine batters in the Rams’ 3A Narrows League victory over the Falcons. Ridgeway also went 2-for-4 with three RBI.

Timberline 20, Mount Tahoma 1: The Blazers took advantage of nine T-Birds’ errors and put up 15 of their runs in the second inning to cruise to a 3A Narrows League victory. Sophomore Matt Mercer picked up the victory on the mound.

FASTPITCH

Wilson 8, North Thurston 6: Sophomore Dominique Greeno blasted her fifth home run in six games, but Wilson put up three runs over the final three innings to hand North Thurston its first loss in 3A Narrows League play. Greeno, Saralyn Campbell and Annelies Dahmen each went 2-for-4 to account for six of North Thurston’s seven hits.

Timberline 25, Lincoln 2: The Blazers pounded out 29 hits in their 3A Narrows League win over the Abes.

Shelton 17, Foss 2: Aurora Gouley went 3-for-5 and drove in two runs, and Morgan Mitchell had two hits and scored twice in the Highclimbers’ 3A Narrows League win over the Falcons.

GIRLS TENNIS

North Thurston swept all five matches against Yelm in straight sets, including No. 1 singles, as freshman Ainsley Winterrowd defeated Emma Charlston, 6-2, 6-0, in the Rams’ 5-0 win to remain undefeated.

Madeline Sayler and Alicia Rebetzier swept their matches in straight sets at Nos. 1 and 2 singles to help Black Hills edge Timberline, 3-2.

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 mwochnick@theolympian.com theolympian.com/southsoundsports

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