NACHES — Naselle’s baseball team traveled east early last week for three games against the Naches Valley Rangers, a 1A program that finished 20-2 last season. After thumping the Rangers’ JV team Monday, April 1, the 1B Comets split a double-header with the varsity squad Tuesday. Daniel Holt drove in five runs in Tuesday’s opener, a 13-2 Comet victory. Valley took the nightcap 7-1.
Double-Header Game 1: Naselle 13, Naches Valley 2 (six innings)
Naselle pitcher Cole Dorman retired the first 11 batters he faced before a two-out double by Garrett Wolfe in the fourth.
Valley starter Mitchell Cruzen loaded the bases with walks in the first inning, and Kolton Lindstrom and Clay Bergeson came through with two-out singles to give the Comets a 3-0 lead after one. Holt’s two-out, two-run single in the third made it 5-0. The Comets drew five walks in the first three innings, and did much of their damage on hitters’ counts. By time Valley got its first base-runner, Wolfe’s fourth-inning double, it was 6-0.
Leading 8-0 entering the sixth, Naselle piled on. With the help of back-to-back errors, they loaded the bases with no outs. Holt cleared the bases with a double to make it 11-0. Holt and Warren Wirkkala came around to score on another error, making it 13-0.
Valley finally got on the board in the sixth. Dorman walked three batters and gave up a hit before leaving with one out in the inning and a 13-1 lead. Reliever Josh Townsen walked another run in. Valley needed two more runs to keep the game going, but Townsen struck out Gage Blanchard and got Austin Meluskey to ground out to end the game on the ten-run rule.
Dorman allowed two hits and five walks in his five and a third innings. Cruzen gave up five walks and three hits in his three innings.
Double-Header Game 2: Naches Valley 7, Naselle 1
Kolton Lindstrom’s double was the Comets’ only hit off Caleb Deaton, who struck out nine and walked two in six innings to lead the Rangers to victory.
“He was not overpowering, but he was the best arm we’ve seen this year,” Ilwaco coach Randy Lindstrom said. “He moved his fastball around, and he mixed in a slider to some of our guys, maybe our two-through-four hitters.”
The Rangers’ first three batters reached on a walk and two singles off Ethan Lindstrom, and Jerry Tatum’s double helped them to a 3-0 first-inning lead. Alex Bost led off the fourth with a triple and scored. Three errors helped Valley to three more runs in the fifth.
Jimmy Strange led off the fifth with a walk, and Lindstrom followed by breaking up the no-hitter, doubling him in on a 2-1 fastball for Naselle’s only run.
“He got good wood on the ball,” Randy Lindstrom said. “We all thought for a second it had a chance to go out.”
Naselle’s only other hit was Dorman’s seventh-inning single off Wolfe, who was on in relief. Townsen pitched the seventh for Naselle, striking out two batters in a perfect inning.
The split brought both teams’ records to 6-2. Naches Valley, which plays in the 1A South Central Athletic Conference, is two classifications above 1B Naselle.
Naselle 21, Naches JV 3 (five innings.)
Naselle’s one-through-four hitters combined to go 13 for 16 to lead the way in Monday’s blowout of the JV squad. Clay Bergeson, batting cleanup, was 4 for 5, Joe and Jimmy Strange were each 3 for 4. Leadoff batter Warren Wirkkala singled in his only at bat, and Cole Dorman, pinch-hitting for Wirkkala, was 2 for 2 with a pair of walks.
Joe Strange, batting third, singled in the first two runs in the Comets’ ten-run first, then added a two-run double in the second inning. Two more came on his third-inning fielder’s choice, giving him a team-high six RBI on the day.
Bergeson started on the mound and went an inning and two thirds, Joe Strange pitched two and a third, and Holt pitched the fifth inning.