OLYMPIA — Good swings lead to more quality at-bats, and the most notable feature the Olympia Bears took away from Thursday’s nonleague game against Capital is working on — and achieving — better at-bats.
Ten runs on 12 hits can do that for a team, as it did for the Bears in their 10-4 victory over Capital at Crandall Field in the annual Bruce Crandall Day game, which started in 2012 honoring the retired Lt. Col. Crandall, a 1951 Olympia High graduate for whom the field and event is named, and other military veterans.
The runs and hits are a season high for Olympia, a winner of two straight to improve to 3-5. Two days after beating Stadium with just three hits, becoming more aggressive and attacking the first-pitch fastballs was key against Capital, said second baseman Josh Christoffer.
“That’s what we’ve been working on lately because that’s what we’ve been struggling with,” said Christoffer, who went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, and also pitched in relief in the seventh inning. “It finally came together.”
In addition to Christoffer, Leif Hansen and Tyler Wambold each went 2-for-4 with two RBIs apiece, as the Bears built a 6-1 lead through four innings with their largest lead at 10-1 through six. Hansen, the Bears’ starting pitcher, was pulled after two innings as a precaution, Bears coach Steve Roth said. Hansen missed the past two games with a concussion, and he will ease back into a regular pitching mode next week, Roth said. Meanwhile, Ryan Tamayo pitched four innings of relief, settling down after a two-walk third inning – when Capital scored its first run – and retiring eight of the next 10 batters he faced, including 1-2-3 fourth and sixth innings.
“All year long, he’s been there behind guys,” Roth said. “... He’s been working and it’s good to see. Last year he wasn’t in the rotation with us at all and after last summer, he’s really picked it up.”
Like Olympia, which has a nonleague game against unbeaten Timberline on Friday at the Regional Athletic Complex, Capital (0-8) will play its fourth game in five days Friday when it resumes 2A Evergreen Conference play — and searches for its first win — against River Ridge .
This week, the Cougars have averaged 5.6 runs a game over three games, but first-year coach Jesse Elam said the defense is still a work in progress; five errors led to five unearned Olympia runs.
“Our defensive stuff is what’s hurting us,” Elam said. “... We’ve got to get better at that. If we played catch (Thursday), we might be in the ballgame.”
Olympia is 3-0 all-time in Crandall Day games, an event created by former Olympia baseball player Michael Fairchild, now pitching at Azusa Pacific University. Bruce Crandall, who was in attendance Thursday and had the ceremonial first at-bat, received the Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush in 2007 for his actions during Vietnam’s Battle of la Drang in November 1965. He flew 22 missions into enemy fire and helped evacuate approximately 70 wounded soldiers.
Baseball: Trace Florek’s 2-for-3 performance helped Yelm to 12 hits in a 9-5 nonleague victory over Shelton.
Fastpitch: Breann Robertson went 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs, and Ally Choate had three hits and scored three runs in Yelm’s 13-3 win over Bellarmine Prep in 4A Narrows League action.
Boys soccer: Centralia’s Laurence Silva scored the winning goal in the 82nd minute in the Tigers’ 2-1 win over Tumwater in 2A Evergreen Conference soccer. The Tigers trailed 1-0 with six minutes left. ... Freddie Bautista’s goal in the 76th minute got W.F. West past Black Hills, 2-1.
College baseball: Zach Carter pitched a complete-game six-hitter, allowing one earned run in the Saint Martin’s 2-1 win over Northwest Nazarene in the first game of a doubleheader in Lacey. NNU topped SMU, 7-5, in the nightcap. In Game 2, catcher Chandler Tracy notched his Great Northwest Athletic Conference-leading sixth home run of the season, and now ranks second all time in career home runs (26).
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org @megwochnick www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports