Yelm tied with Steilacoom High School, 3-3, after seven innings of play on Friday, March 17.
After a 2-0 start to its season, the Tornados baseball team hoped to build momentum with a win against the Sentinels, but coaches from both teams felt it was necessary to end the game.
“I’d love to go nine or 10 innings, whatever it takes to try and get a win, but I also want the JV to get a full game,” Yelm head coach Zach Miller said following the game. “We talked to the umpires, and in the grand scheme of things, it matters to get innings for these guys right now, too.”
Freshman Landan Halterman made his second start of the season and appeared more comfortable and collected on the mound.
Steilacoom’s first batter of the game led off with a bunt single, but Yelm’s defense turned a double play to collect two outs. Halterman finished the top of the frame with a strikeout.
Senior center fielder Aden Schaler led off for Yelm in the bottom of the first, and started the game off with a double. After freshman Parker Myers struck out, senior first baseman Kolby Henry was walked and the Tornados looked to capitalize on their early base runners.
But just like Steilacoom, Yelm’s designated hitter Barrett Schnetz grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Halterman built off his strong first inning by collecting three quick outs, including his second strikeout of the day. Yelm popped and grounded out to end the quick second inning.
The Sentinels’ offense was able to get going in the third inning after a leadoff walk. The runner on first base advanced to second after a fielder’s choice and later stole third base. Steilacoom was on the board first, after an RBI single gave them a 1-0 lead.
Yelm responded to Steilacoom’s score in the third inning when Myers doubled into right field and collected two RBIs, which brought the score 2-1 in favor of the Tornados after the inning.
The Sentinels tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning after a sac fly helped a Steilacoom runner cross home plate. Schnetz collected an RBI after a single and Myers scored for the Tornados, giving Yelm a 3-2 lead.
Steilacoom tied the game in the top of the sixth inning after a slow rolling ground ball allowed the third base runner to reach home.
Good pitching from both teams shut down scoring opportunities in the seventh inning, and after a discussion with the umpires, coaches decided the contest would end in a draw.
“To be able to come out and have leads, hold leads, and keep it at 3-3, I felt it was really impressive with what we were able to do today. I would’ve liked to come out on top, but at the same time having a lot of people here on a nice sunny day, you couldn’t ask for more,” Miller said. “I was proud of how we came out and played today, especially against a good 2A club that will make a run at their league title.”
Miller said it was great to see Halterman pitch against Steilacoom after his first outing against Rainier. He believes his young pitcher possesses a great amount of potential.
“We’ve all been that wide-eyed freshman before, and when he found out he was getting the ball week out, I think he was antsy and nervous, but that isn’t the true Landan,” Miller said. “Today, I think we saw what he’s capable of and there’s more in there, too. I thought he did a lot better, went deeper in the game and helped us out. It was awesome to see him go out and go toe-to-toe with those guys.”
The Tornados were set to dive into South Sound Conference play as they hosted Gig Harbor High School on Tuesday, March 21. They were then scheduled to play at Gig Harbor on Wednesday, March 22 for their second matchup with the Tides.
“That’s a big week,” Miller said. “To jump right into our conference play with Gig Harbor is not an easy task. I know they’ll be ready for us.”
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