NHS baseball Jimmy Strange

Jimmy Strange bunted against Evergreen Lutheran.

ELMA — Ethan Lindstrom doubled, tripled and struck out 11 batters as Naselle won the baseball 1B District IV title with a 12-3 victory over Evergreen Lutheran Saturday, May 11.

Lindstrom struck out four of six batters he faced in the first two innings using mostly fastballs. He nailed the corners of the strike zone and got hitters to expand the zone slightly with two strikes. Noah Riverant singled on a 3-1 pitch in the second inning, but Lindstrom picked him off at second base.

The Knights got to Lindstrom for three runs in the third inning. Lindstrom then returned to dominance, striking out Lane Hagen on a high fastball to end the inning and start a streak of seven strikeouts in nine batters.

Naselle scored in every inning. Warren Wirkkala sparked Naselle’s offense in the bottom of the first on the first pitch of the game from Evergreen starter Liam Peterson. He got to a low pitch and dunked it into right field, starting a two-run first.

Peterson was wild at times in the early innings but kept the game close. Naselle scored a run in the second, but Peterson escaped a jam that inning with a runner at third and one out, striking out Wirkkala and Joe Strange. Lindstrom was hit by a pitch to lead off the third, and Naselle broke a 3-3 tie by scoring two runs in the inning with the help of Clay Bergeson’s RBI single.

In the fourth, Lindstrom crushed a pitch about 320 feet to the right-field corner for an RBI triple to make it 6-3. Peterson again got back-to-back strikeouts to strand Lindstrom at third.

Naselle broke the game open with a five-run fifth. Kolton Lindstrom led off the inning with a screaming line drive that was too hot for Evergreen’s third baseman to handle. With the bases loaded, one out and three already in, Lindstrom launched a double down the left-field line off reliever Ethan Hoefler.

Townsen, Wirkkala and Bergeson each went 2 for 4, and Ethan Lindstrom was 2 for 3. Daniel Holt made a diving catch in right in the first inning, and Townsen added a diving grab in the seventh.

Naselle will play Odessa in State quarterfinals at W.F. West in Chehalis Saturday, May 18 at 1 p.m. The winner will play Colton or Quilcene later that afternoon in semifinals at the same field. Evergreen Lutheran, Almira-Coulee-Hartline, Pomeroy and Sunnyside Christian will play on the other part of the State bracket at Walla Walla the same day. State finals will be at Wheeler at 4 p.m. May 25.

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

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