ADNA — The Adna baseball team didn’t exactly ease into the spring.
With rain on Monday canceling their scheduled opener, the Pirates barrelled headlong into Central 2B League play without any sort of warmup. And didn’t get just any league opponent, but rival Napavine.
“It raises the intensity right away,” Adna coach Thad Nelson said. “I love the rivalry, I think it’s a real quality rivalry, and I think any time you can play a quality team right out the bat, it’s going to make you better.”
And the Pirates got up to the standard quickly, dropping three big innings to down the defending district champs 10-4.
“For a first game, it was a nice first game,” Nelson said. “A lot that we can work on and get better, but overall, I’m very happy with the effort.”
Like in many early-season games, the difference came down to consistency on the mound. Adna — for the most part — had it, and Napavine didn’t.
The Pirates gave the ball to Tristan Percival, and for three innings, the southpaw was all but unhittable, and the only question was whether his pitches found the strike zone. Percival faced 14 batters in just over three innings and only allowed two balls in play, both of which went for outs. The other 12 Pirates to come up against him split between seven strikeouts and four walks.
“When he throws strikes, he is very, very hard to hit,” Nelson said. “There’s no other way to put it.”
After Percival walked the first two batters of the fourth, Nelson turned to Danner Hoinowski, who let both inherited runners score but went on to shut the Tigers down the rest of the way, striking out five and walking one.
“Danner came in and gave us a solid four innings, kept us in the ballgame, and did a good job,” Nelson said.
A day after six Napavine pitchers combined to issue 21 free passes against Mossyrock, the Tigers struggled with control again, walking 11 Pirates and hitting two more batters.
Conner Holmes got the start and gave up eight runs on six hits and five walks in 3 ⅓ innings. He gave way to Jack Nelson, who walked three of the five batters he faced and exited after only getting one out.
“That’s been our problem the past two nights: we’ve walked way too many guys,” Napavine coach Brian Demarest said. “We’ve addressed it with them. It’s not like they’re trying to throw balls. It’s just a matter that we have to focus on. And when that happens, I think we’ll be okay. But until that happens, we’re not going to be very competitive.”
With Napavine putting runners on base, Adna did its job to cash them in, and did so from all spots in the lineup. Percival went 2 for 3 with a walk and pair of runs scored in the heart of the order, Owen Fagerness went 2 for 3 in the No. 7 spot, and all the way at the bottom of the card, Luke Mohney had the biggest hit of the game on a bases-clearing triple in the third.
Ashton Demarest had two of Napavine’s three hits, and also drew a pair of walks.
The two sides will head south for another meet-up Thursday, capping off the first back-to-back series of the new-look C2BL season.