TENINO — Not only did the Tenino baseball team battle back twice to beat league-leading Montesano — handing the Bulldogs their first league loss since 2016 — the Beavers swept the …
TENINO — Not only did the Tenino baseball team battle back twice to beat league-leading Montesano — handing the Bulldogs their first league loss since 2016 — the Beavers swept the Bulldogs in a doubleheader Tuesday, 9-8 and 5-4, at home.
The win means the Beavers have locked up at least second place in league a year removed from a one-win season, and could win a league championship if they beat the Bulldogs one more time in their season finale.
The Beavers lost the season series with the Bulldogs last season by a combined score of 36-3.
“That was definitely talked about,” Beavers coach Ryan Schlesser said. “We knew we were capable of beating anyone we play, it’s just about who shows up. They came out and played really well, the intensity and energy was there from the beginning.”
Both wins Tuesday came in crunch time fashion, with the first being an absolute doozy.
Tied at 8-8, and with two outs already, Mikey Vasser stepped up to the plate against the Bulldogs in a crucial league contest against the previously unbeaten-in-league leaders.
It didn’t start how he wanted, taking a first ball before falling behind 1-2 in the count.
The fearless freshman then took a ball, and launched the game-winning home run over the wall to hand Montesano its first loss in league in a 9-8 victory in the first game of the doubleheader.
“That was huge, he didn’t even start that game,” Schlesser said. “We needed him as a defensive guy, he’s swung it well and been hit or miss, but he had a good week of practice. For a freshman to hit that, that was pretty special. With that game going back and forth, it definitely wasn't going to be an easy dub. That’s a moment he’ll remember forever.”
The Beavers got off to a strong start, putting seven runs on the Bulldogs in the first two innings, with Will Feltus finishing 3 for 4 with two runs scored and Kellan Knox going 2 for 4 with three RBIs and a run scored.
On the mound, Easton Snider got it started with a solid first two innings pitched, giving up just one earned run on two hits with two strikeouts. Brody Noonan finished it off in the last four innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts.
Then, after struggling in the Elma series with responding after huge wins, the Beavers came back and flipped the script. The Beavers gave up a run in the top of the inning but kept the hot bats going, building up a 5-1 lead through five innings.
Though the Bulldogs made it close late, scoring three in the final two innings, Snider did enough out of the bullpen to end the threat and ensure the twinbill sweep.
Cody Strawn went 6 ⅓ innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits with six strikeouts, and Snider didn’t allow a hit in ⅔ innings of relief. Knox, Snider, and Kaden Sayamnet all finished with RBIs.
“That was a talking point, we need to stay up and keep the energy up,” Schlesser said. “Both games they score in the top of the first, instead of putting our heads down, we battled back and scored in the bottom of the inning. We matched it, they battled today and showed a lot of heart.”
A spring removed from a trying season that saw Tenino go just 1-8, the Beavers are now one win removed from a league championship and the top seed in the district tournament.
“We got a special group of young kids coming through,” Schlesser said. “It's the older guys showing them the way and this is how we do things here. It’s showing, I hope this is just the beginning. These are some good times for Tenino baseball.”
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