NASELLE — Cole Dorman’s hit inches inside the right field line scored Joe Strange to give Naselle a 10-9 victory over Ocosta Monday, April 29. The Comets scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to win the back-and-forth game against the Pacific League champion Wildcats, who have clinched a spot at the 2B State tournament.

Clay Bergeson led off the bottom of the seventh and final inning with a bloop single to center, and Daniel Holt walked to put the tying run on. Naselle played for extra innings, sending Josh Townsen up to bunt. Townsen laid down a perfect bunt between the pitcher and first base, moving the runners along. But Warren Wirkkala’s RBI groundout to short left Naselle down to its final out and still down a run.

Joe Strange ripped a low 2-2 pitch to shallow center to bring home Holt with the tying run, then stretched his hit into a double, making it easily when the throw from center died short of second base. The Wildcats intentionally walked Ethan Lindstrom, leaving it up to Dorman to win the game.

Dorman ripped the first pitch down the right field line. In the air it seemed to drift further to the right, but it landed just inside the line, and Strange scored easily with the winning run.

Naselle trailed 2-1 early as Lindstrom, the starting pitcher, struggled slightly with his control. Lindstrom gave way to Dorman, who was solid for several innings. Naselle took a 7-3 lead against starting pitcher Jose Sevilla, as the Wildcats rested the arms of aces Cole Hatton and Kobe Beck. But Dorman lost his control in the sixth inning, and neither Josh Townsen nor Strange could find the zone, either. The Wildcats scored six in the sixth, most of the runs being walked in, then loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh.

It was then that Bergeson, the Comets’ last viable option to pitch, took the mound. He faced Kjirstin Hopfer, the basketball standout and former softball star who switched to baseball this year. Hopfer hit a line drive over short, but Ethan Lindstrom leaped high in the air to rob her of a hit, then nabbed a runner leaving from third for the double play. Bergeson induced a tapper to the mound for the final out of the inning with Beck and Hatton lurking on deck.

Bergeson was the winning pitcher, having kept Naselle within striking distance for its final-inning comeback.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or aaroncmead@gmail.com.

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