Yelm squared off against Gig Harbor for its first South Sound Conference matchups of the season and were outscored 23-2 during the two-game home-and-home series.
During the Tuesday, March 21 game, the Tornados lost 13-2, which was followed by a 10-0 loss on Wednesday, March 22.
Prior to the first game of the series, Yelm had a 2-0-1 record against its non-conference opponents.
“We need to challenge hitters by inviting contact more on defense. Too many walks and free passes lead to big innings that are tough to overcome,” Head Coach Zach Miller said. “If we can get to doing the routine things at a high level, everything becomes easier. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that this week and the results showed.”
During the first game against the Tides, Yelm’s freshman right handed pitcher Landan Halterman started for the third time this season.
Halterman’s pitch location was off early in the first inning as he loaded the bases after facing three batters. All three of Gig Harbor’s baserunners were walked, although the runner on first base was hit by a pitch beforehand.
With the bases loaded, a wild pitch and an error on a throw allowed two Gig Harbor base runners to cross home plate safely.
Halterman walked his next batter, and two runners scored after a bunt single and another wild throw. Later in the inning, the bases were cleared after a triple scored the two runners on second and third.
Trailing 6-0 in the first inning before Yelm recorded an out, Miller made a pitching change as freshman Jonah Smith took over for Halterman.
Gig Harbor scored once more in the first inning on an RBI sacrifice bunt, but Smith finished the first frame with two strikeouts.
Senior center fielder Aden Schaler led-off for the Tornados, but he quickly went out after he grounded to the pitcher. Batting in the two-hole, freshman shortstop Parker Myers collected Yelm’s first hit with a double, but the Tornados’ first inning ended quickly as senior first baseman Kolby Henry flew out and Myers was caught stealing.
Yelm’s tough luck continued as Gig Harbor scored five more runs throughout the remainder of the game, or 13 in total.
The Tornados were able to muster two runs late in the game, but weren’t able to cut Gig Harbor’s lead any shorter.
On Wednesday, March 22, the series continued as the Tornados traveled to Gig Harbor and played the Tides for the final time this season.
“Offensively we are seeing too many fastballs go by and we are getting really picky at what we swing at,” Miller said. “To an extent, that is great because we are seeing a ton of pitches and having some long at bats but we aren’t able to get the big hit with runners on in order to manufacture runs.”
Miller noted the team does not have “a good recipe” for wins currently, but is learning through the different scenarios they face, which is important for the younger players.
“We will look to bounce back and play Timberline tough next week, a very solid club, so we will have to work for all we get and that will be good for this group going forward,” Miller said.
Yelm was set to play Timberline on Tuesday, March 28, and Wednesday, March 29. Up next, they will host Rochester High School on Thursday, March 30.
Their next matchups against a South Sound Conference opponent will be on April 3 and April 4 during another home-and-home series against Peninsula.
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