After barely scraping past Pe Ell-Willapa Valley in the first round of the 2B District 4 playoffs Saturday at Union High School in Camas, the Napavine baseball team pulled off perhaps the upset of the tournament so far in the quarterfinals, defeating Central 2B runner-up Kalama, 5-4.
The win means the Tigers are headed to the district semifinals against Forks, and have secured their first regional playoff bid since 2017. Though, each of the last two seasons did not feature regionals or state because of the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the 2020 season and the 2021 spring season being shortened.
“Our kids put together a solid day of baseball,” Tigers coach Brian Demarest said. “I’m really proud of their effort and the way we competed. We had to face a lot of adversity and our kids just kept competing. We got contributions from everyone today, good team wins.”
In the first game, the Tigers used a plethora of hits and runs to score, racking up 16 hits to outlast the Titans 14-11. A back-and-forth contest all game long, the Tigers put seven runs across in the final two innings to seal it. Scott Burdick went 2 for 4 with three runs and three RBIs, and Ashton Demarest added a 2 for 4 line with two runs scored and three RBIs.
On the mound, Gavin Parker went 4 ⅓ innings with five earned runs on six hits and five walks with three strikeouts. Conner Holmes relieved him for 2 ⅔ innings with three earned runs allowed on three hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
In the second game, the Tigers rallied by a 3-spot in the first inning from the Chinooks, scoring three runs over the final four innings and holding the Chinooks scoreless over that time to squeak past, 5-4.
The Tigers doubled the Chinooks in hits, picking up 10 as a team, with Burdick again putting three RBIs across. Demarest got the start on the mound and went four innings, allowing one earned run on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts.
Napavine will take on 2B Pacific League champion Forks Tuesday at Lower Columbia Community College in the district semis.