Elma v. Hoquiam in loser-out district baseball contest
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Unable to duplicate the late-inning magic from hours earlier, Elma settled for a split on the opening day of the District IV Class 1A Baseball Tournament on Tuesday.
Austin Neary’s two-run home run capped a three-run seventh inning that gave the Eagles a come-from-behind 7-5 victory over Toledo/Winlock in an opening round game at Tenino.
Errors, however, proved costly to the the Eagles in a 5-3 loss to Rochester in a district semifinal contest later in the day at Rochester.
Elma (15-7) will face rival Hoquiam in a winner-to-regionals, loser-out game scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday at Castle Rock. The winner will play again Saturday for third and fourth places, with both teams guaranteed berths in regionals May 24.
The Eagles began the day with back-to-back triples by Todd Swinhart and Ricky Escalante in the top of the first inning against Toledo/Winlock. Nick Camenzind and Austin Neary followed with RBI singles for a 3-0 lead.
Cashing in on Elma errors, however, Toledo/Winlock rallied to take a 5-4 lead in the sixth.
Swinhart reached on an error to open the Eagle seventh inning, stole second and was sacrificed to third by Escalante. With Camenzind at the place, Swinhart scored the tying run on a wild pitch.
After Camenzind drew a walk, Neary blasted a long drive over the left-field fence — just inside the foul pole — for what proved to be the winning margin.
Camenzind pitched a perfect bottom of the seventh to finish off a complete-game four hitter. Neary and Camenzind had two hits apiece.
The Eagles then faced about a two-hour break waiting for Rochester to complete a 17-inning 1-0 win over La Center. After committing four errors against Toledo/Winlock, they were guilty of five miscues against the Warriors.
“It didn’t help us any,” Elma coach Scott Rowland said of the long wait. “If you look at how we played, we kind of lost our focus.”
Thomas Hughes delivered a two-run single in the first inning to match two Rochester runs in the top half of that inning. The Warriors added solo runs off starting pitcher Neary in the third, fourth and fifth and the Eagles were unable to convert scoring threats in the fifth and sixth.
Hughes and Swinhart had two hits apiece for Elma.