LONG BEACH — Ilwaco put up 11 runs in the fifth inning of game one and ten in the fifth in game two in a double-header sweep of North Beach Thursday, May 2.
There was confusion between games as the Hyaks announced that they would forfeit game two in protest of the ejection of coach Dave Hinchen, then reversed themselves and decided to play.
Five pitchers got turns on the mound for the Fishermen, who didn’t have regular starting pitchers Trenton Cox and Landin Frank available. The two had thrown 90 and 102 pitches, respectively, in losses to Pe Ell on Tuesday, when Ilwaco was fighting for a possible first-round bye in the playoffs. Going into play Thursday, Ilwaco knew it would finish third in the Pacific League and start the playoffs Saturday.
North Beach took a 3-0 lead on four Ilwaco errors in the second inning. But the Hyaks committed five errors of their own in the third. As the wheels came off for North Beach, Ilwaco baserunners kept the pressure on. Chris Wood, who reached on a throwing error while driving in Frank to make it 3-2, stole second and third and then scored on a throwing error to tie it with one out in the inning. With two out, Dylan Simonson took off from first before the pitcher’s delivery and drew a balk, which brought Nate Hopkins home from third. Simonson scored from second when a pickoff attempt got by the shortstop, making it 5-3.
In the bottom of the fifth, Reese Tynkila had Ilwaco’s first hit, a one-out RBI double that brought in Nate Hopkins. Simonson was hit by a pitch, and Tynkila scored from third when Simonson drew another balk.
With the game spinning out of control for the Hyaks defense, Simonson was going for the jugular with his baserunning aggression.
“I saw their pitcher getting kind of worked up,” Simonson said. “I just knew it was my time.”
Later in the inning, Trenton Cox was on third and ran way down the line toward home, inducing another balk to make it 11-6. Landin Frank’s double to right brought in Jeb Sheldon to make it 12-6. Simonson came up again in the inning and reached on a three-base error, the Hyaks’ third error of the inning, then scored on another error to end the game on the ten-run rule.
Brian Sparks got the start for Ilwaco, going three and a third innings and allowing no walks and three unearned runs. He gave way to Tynkila, who struck out five of ten batters he faced. Tynkila allowed a pair of singles and three unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth as the Hyaks took a 6-5 lead. He struck out three of the last four batters to limit the damage and was the winning pitcher.
There was confusion and drama between games, as North Beach initially decided to forfeit the second game. Hyaks’ coach Dave Hinchen had been ejected from game one for going onto the field during a live play. North Beach played the rest of the first game under protest and threatened to appeal, but with District playoffs starting in two days, the protest was really just symbolic.
By rule, an ejection in game one of a double-header carries over into the second game. But because of the pending appeal, umpires initially told Hinchen they would allow him to coach game two, perhaps to avoid both games having to be replayed if North Beach won the appeal. However, between games, umpires got word that they could not allow Hinchen to return, and informed him of this ruling.
Hinchen declared he would forfeit the second game in protest. Ballpark announcer Rod Anderson announced the decision to a bewildered crowd. Some North Beach players went out to give the standard post-double-header hand-shakes to Ilwaco players. Hyak coaches yelled at them to get back to the dugout, but some players ignored this and continued fraternizing with the Fishermen. Meanwhile, umpires informed Hinchen that if he forfeited the game, he would have to instead serve the rest of his ejection in the team’s next game. Hinchen relented, and game two was played.
Ghannon Whelden allowed just one run in three innings and hit two doubles. Trevor Hutson pitched the fourth inning.
Whelden’s second-inning double helped Ilwaco to a four-run inning.
In the fifth, Ilwaco had just one on with two out, but the next twelve batters all reached base, starting with Landin Frank being hit by a pitch. Whelden doubled in two runs in the inning to make it 7-1, and Jeb Sheldon followed with a two-run double of his own. North Beach’s acting coach conceded the game when the score reached 15-1.