Warriors Keep Season Alive, Advance to District Play-In


LACEY — In a win-or-go-home contest being played in a deluge, the Rochester baseball team played well enough to live and fight another day, dispatching Black Hills, 10-2, to advance to the district play-in Saturday. 

The win locks the Warriors into the 2A Evergreen Conference’s No. 4 seed. They will play Hudson’s Bay Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bay. If Rochester manages to win that, it would advance to play the Greater St. Helens League No. 1 Columbia River. 

Led by another strong start from Braden Hartley on the mound, the Warriors held the Wolves to just two runs, and put seven on the Wolves alone in the fourth inning to pull away for the win. 

Hartley pitched five innings, giving up two earned runs in the fifth inning on four hits and five walks. The ace also struck out seven in the winning effort. JV standout Henry Gramelspacher came out of the bullpen to pitch two scoreless innings with six strikeouts. 

“Braden’s a competitor through-and-through,” Rochester coach Brad Quarnstrom said. “And he’s going to get himself into sticky situations, but he gets after it and comes up with the right pitch when he needs it. He didn’t have his best stuff today, and he told us that, but he said he’d give us all he could, and that’s what he did.”

At the plate, Garren Smith was huge. Smith hit 3 for 4 with four RBIs and a run scored in the win, and Hayden Pietrus added a 2 for 4 line with two RBIs. Hartley scored a game-high three runs, hitting 2 for 3. 

“He’s done a phenomenal job of soaking everything up that we’ve told him,” Quarnstrom said of Smith. “He’s done an exceptional job at first base. He’s struggled a bit at the plate this year, but in the last two weeks he’s really come on. Today he was a big cog in our lineup. It’s awesome to see him reap the benefits of his hard work.”

Meanwhile, the Wolves season will come to an end. After tying the Warriors record during the regular season and splitting the season matchups, the Wolves couldn’t win the rubber match to extend their season. Black Hills went through four pitchers, but couldn’t recover from a devastating fourth inning. 

Parker Termini knocked in a run for the Wolves, and Braiden Bond scored a run with three walks.