TACOMA — This was the challenging road set before the Timberline High Blazers, who captured the Narrows 3A regular-season crown but were upended in the league tournament title game.
It was really pretty simple Tuesday.
Win — survive.
Lose — hang up the gear for the rest of the year.
The Blazers were one out away from moving on in the West Central District tournament, only to watch Bonney Lake tie the game in the seventh inning.
And in extra innings, the Panthers collected a 4-3 victory at Heidelberg Park, ending Timberline’s season.
Bonney Lake’s Kyler Myler led off the ninth inning by reaching on an infield error, and that was all the SPSL 3A’s fourth-place team needed to cash in.
On a stolen-base attempt, Myler moved around to third base after the throw by catcher Brennon Kaleiwahea was not handled cleanly and the ball rolled into center field.
Myler then scored the winning run when Dylan Moran’s sacrifice fly to left field was just deep enough. A relay to Kaleiwahea at home plate was close, but Myler appeared to kick the baseball out of the glove.
Reliever Cory Burrill earned the victory in relief for the Panthers. In his four innings of work, he was nearly untouchable by not allowing a hit and striking out seven of the 13 batters he faced.
Up 3-2, the Blazers had a chance to close it out in the seventh inning. After Cobi Beal gave up a hard-luck infield single to start the inning then a sacrifice bunt, he was pulled from the game.
Matt Mercer relieved and struck out Moran for the second out. But locked in a battle with shortstop Michael Gretler – arguably the SPSL 3A’s top hitter – Mercer lost it when Gretler lined a 2-2 breaking pitch through the hole on the left side to tie the game.
Mercer’s infield single scored two runs as Timberline grabbed a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning.
But the Blazers were hurt by four errors.
“It happens. The kids got tight,” Blazers coach Matt Acker said. “It is a young team.”todd.milles@ thenewstribune.com