LACEY — After a 12-inning 3A Narrows League baseball marathon that took 3 hours, 10 minutes, North Thurston senior ace Ryan Mets admitted his jaw was in more discomfort than his left arm.
His arm, he said, was in good shape after throwing 127 pitches over 10 innings, but his jaw was a different story — and it had nothing to do with nearly matching his career high for strikeouts in a game.
That’s because he caught a teammate’s shoulder when the Rams dog-piled their senior ace and Oregon State signee after he rounded first base with the game-winning RBI.
“That hurt,” Mets said, “but it was totally worth it.”
Mets’ sharply hit walk-off RBI single to left-center in the bottom of the 12th scored Ethan Connelly from third, giving the Rams a 2-1 victory over previously undefeated Timberline in Monday’s showdown.
In the 12th, tied at 1 since the bottom of the seventh, singles by Emilio Romero and Josh Congdon off Blazers reliever Zack Owens, followed by an intentional walk to Hayden Maliska, loaded the bases for Mets, who got his third hit of the day and sealed North Thurston’s rally.
The two teams face off again Wednesday at Timberline.
In a highly advertised pitchers’ duel — Mets versus Timberline’s Matt Mercer — the duo didn’t disappoint. With several college and pro scouts in attendance, both aces combined for 26 strikeouts and allowed six hits.
After six shutout innings, North Thurston and Timberline each scored in the seventh.
Timberline took a 1-0 lead in its half when a passed ball scored Ryan Connor from third base after Connor reached base on an infield error with one out.
But in their home half of the seventh, the Rams (9-4 overall, 8-1 3A Narrows) tied it up when Maliska drew a bases-loaded walk. There was a chance for more, but Ben Rood was caught stealing at home plate, sending the game into extra innings.
Blazers coach Matt Acker elected to pull Mercer after 62/3 innings and 112 pitches with nine strikeouts, but Mets said his “excitement and adrenaline” — plus good persuasion on his part to coach Lance Baker — kept him going into the eighth, ninth, and eventually 10th inning, in spite of his pitch count rising past 100 in the eighth.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to do it any other way,” said Mets, who finished with 17 strikeouts, one off his career high of 18 set earlier this year. “As long as I could still throw, I wanted to stay out there.”
Acker pointed to baserunning miscues that hurt the Blazers (14-1, 6-1).
“We made mistakes we haven’t made in two years,” Acker said. “Signs that we missed, and that’s a sign of adrenaline, and we had a great talk about that.”
• Garrett Terrell threw a complete-game two-hitter and struck out 12 Black Hills batters in Tumwater’s 6-1 win over the Wolves in the 2A Evergreen Conference. Tumwater is 10-2 overall and 9-1 in league.
• Christian Rohrer threw a complete-game two-hit shutout and struck out six Bobcats in Capital’s 4-1 win over Aberdeen in the 2A Evergreen Conference.
• Leif Hansen’s complete-game five-hitter with four strikeouts led Olympia to a 4-1 win over Bellarmine in the 4A Narrows League.
• Maddy Stensby’s 14-strikeout complete game, plus a pair of hits from Glynne Saelid and Bri Bell, including a home run, extended Olympia’s winning streak to five games with a 6-0 win over Yelm. It was the Tornados’ first loss in 4A Narrows League play. The Bears improved to 10-2.
• Maddie Lincoln had five strikeouts over four innings and added an RBI triple in Capital’s 7-1 win over Aberdeen in the 2A Evergreen Conference.
• Annelies Dahmen, Dominique Greeno and Aayliah Kautz combined for nine of North Thurston’s 18 hits in its 12-0 shutout of Mount Tahoma in the 3A Narrows League.
• Timberline winning pitcher Grace Utto-Galarneau was a perfect 5-for-5 with a home run and three doubles in the Blazers’ 15-4 win over Shelton in the 3A Narrows League.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org @megwochnick www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports