T-Birds Beat Bearcats, 6-3, in State Semifinals to Reach Championship


YAKIMA — Staying true to form from the regular season, in the 2A state baseball semifinals Friday in Yakima No. 4 Tumwater handled No. 9 W.F. West — for the fourth time this season — in a 6-3 win. 

Washington State University-bound Thunderbird ace Ryan Orr mowed down batters all afternoon, and the Bearcats weren’t as consistent as they had been all year on defense. Those mental lapses led to Tumwater runs in the early innings. 

Orr struck out eight, and all three runs the Bearcats managed came unearned on seven hits. On defense, two early errors and a few misplayed balls on the larger field at Yakima County Stadium contributed to an early barrage from the Tumwater offense. 

“They definitely have the superior talent on the mound and they have a couple really good hitters,” W.F. West coach Bryan Bullock said. “We didn’t make a couple of plays that we should have in the outfield, they’re such a good team, they were going to take advantage of that.”

Still, after staring down a 6-0 deficit through four innings, the Bearcats began to chip away against their league rivals. 

A sacrifice flyout by Gavin Fugate put the Bearcats first run on the board in the fifth, and after an error in the sixth added two more runs, the Bearcats were hoping to make things interesting in the seventh. 

Instead, Orr sat the Bearcats down in order to help Tumwater make its second-ever state title game appearance. 

Alex Overbay hit two doubles and went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored for the Thunderbirds. 

The win puts Tumwater into a District 4 title game rematch with No. 2 Columbia River in the state championship game Saturday at 4 p.m., while the Bearcats play in the third-place game against No. 3 Ellensburg at 10 a.m. The Rapids beat the Bulldogs in the other semifinal game at 10 a.m., 1-0. 

“I was really happy with our effort all day,” Bullock said. “I was really proud, they can’t look at this and say it's for a lack of effort. Our energy in the dugout, our guys out there, everyone gave everything they had.”

On the mound for W.F. West, Logan Moore threw 5 ⅔ innings, giving up six runs with one unearned on 11 hits. At the plate, Ross Kelley went 2 for 2 with a run scored and a double in the losing effort. 

Now the Bearcats have to turn around for a third-place matchup against an all-too-familiar opponent at 10 a.m. Saturday. Bullock said the Bearcats wouldn’t need much more motivation than playing an old postseason nemesis in the Bulldogs. 

“You don't want to be playing in the 10 a.m. game but we are, so we have to find a way to motivate ourselves to try and beat Ellensburg,” he said. “We’re definitely familiar with them/ We’ve seen them in the postseason before. I think our kids, by tomorrow morning, we’ll be ready to play a baseball game.”

The Bearcats have lost to the Bulldogs in three out of the past four state tournaments that have been held — a 4-2 loss in the 2016 quarterfinals, a 5-1 loss in the 2017 championship game, and a 4-0 loss in 2018.