Pirates Beat Wildcats, but Fall to Forks in District Quarters


SHELTON — Everything seemed to be going well for the Adna baseball team, which was giving the 2B Pacific League champion Forks everything it could handle, building up two separate leads late in the quarterfinals of the 2B District 4 tournament. 

But after getting past Ocosta in the first round, 3-1, to advance to face the Spartans, the Pirates just couldn’t hold on to their leads in a 6-5, walk-off loss Saturday at Shelton High School. 

“We’re happy our guys are disappointed and not satisfied with losing that game,” Pirates coach Jake LeDuc said. “We left it all on the field, you can’t ask for more than that.”

Against the Spartans, Tristan Percival pitched a nearly flawless game through four innings, and heading to the fifth, had a two-run lead. It was Percival’s double that scored the first run for the Pirates in the fifth inning, and Asher Guerrero tacked on another with a two-out single in a previously scoreless stalemate. 

But Percival couldn’t keep the high-powered Spartans off the scoreboard forever, walking in a run and giving up a hit for a score to even the game at 2-2. Then in the sixth, the Pirates again built up a lead, after Nate Scheuber hit a double to score two and Danner Hoinowski added another on a sac fly. 

But it wouldn’t last again. Percival gave up two runs and was pulled for Guerrero, and the bullpen couldn’t avoid a third run to tie it yet again, 5-5, headed to the seventh. After failing to score for the first time in two innings in the top of the inning, the Spartans walked it off in the bottom of the inning to advance to the district semis and punch a regional ticket. 

The Pirates will play Central 2B runner-up Kalama in a loser-out contest at South Bend on Tuesday. 

“Season is still alive,” LeDuc said. “We just saw a good arm, those guys are a top team in the state and we gave them everything we had. We’re a couple plays from winning that game, I don’t fault the kids’ effort.”

The Pirates played a strong defensive game in the first game against Ocosta, and then went about five innings into the second before costly mistakes racked up. A dropped fly ball scored two for the Spartans in the sixth inning, putting Adna’s pitchers in stickier situations. 

“I tip my hat to them, they’re a good ballclub,” LeDuc said. “They found ways to answer. We did help them out a little bit at times, but that’s baseball. It's tough to play 14 innings on a Saturday after not being outside — thanks to weather — and expect to play clean defense all day long. We played great defense the first game and solid the second, and they found a way to win.”

But the bright spot is the way the Pirates’ bats came alive toward the latter half of both games. After a tough start, in both games, Adna’s young lineup built up leads and came up with timely hits to nearly pull of an upset and make it out of the first round. 

“The way we were swinging it at the end of the day is the way we’ve been playing for the last three weeks,” LeDuc said. “We turned it on at the end of the day and we swung it pretty well.”

In the first game, the story was the play of Ryan Wickert on the mound. After not making it through more than four innings in a given start all season long, Wickert threw a complete game and gave up just one run in an outstanding showing. 

The Wildcats got on the board first in the third inning, but the Pirate bats came alive in the fourth and fifth to secure the win, racking up seven hits, with Hoinowski hitting for two RBIs. 

“For him to go out and go the distance was huge, and he still had pitches,” LeDuc said of Wickert. “He was efficient and was great on the mound.”

The Pirates will now face off with Chinooks on Tuesday at South Bend in a loser-out, winner-clinches-a-regional-bid game. If the Pirates were to lose that game, their season would be over. If they win, they’d play the loser of the Toledo-Toutle Lake semifinal. 

“We’ve had other losses this year and we’ve bounced right back,” LeDuc said. “We’ve played with confidence all year and we’ll continue to play with confidence. Put someone in front of us and we’ll play. That’s been the kids’ attitude all year long.”