Mountain View baseball erases five-run deficit in victory

Thunder clinch 3A state berth

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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The Mountain View basetball team got a shock to the system in the first inning of its Class 3A bi-district playoff Wednesday against Decatur of Federal Way.

It didn’t seem to bother the Thunder, though.

Mountain View did not give up a run after the first inning, regained the lead by the third, and advanced to the 3A state tournament with an 11-5 victory at Propstra Stadium.

Mountain View will play Kelso in the bi-district semifinals on Saturday. The final also is Saturday.

Regardless, the Thunder have clinched a spot among the final 16 teams in the state.

Michael Rivers and Jake Shelley each had two hits and drove in two runs apiece to lead Mountain View’s attack.

The Thunder trailed 5-0 after the first.

“We reviewed everything that happened in the huddle (in the middle of the inning), and we just moved on,” Rivers said. “I never thought the game was over by any stretch. We’ve been putting up a lot of runs lately.”

Mountain View starter Zach Torson shook off that tough start -- four of the runs were earned -- and struck out the side in order in the bottom of the second, jump-starting his team’s rally.

Both teams struggled defensively -- there were eight errors in the game -- but it was the Thunder who took advantage of the miscues.

The Thunder scored three in the second inning on one hit, two walks, two hit batsmen and an error.

Mountain View got four more in the third to take the lead with Ross Karfve and Rivers delivering run-scoring singles and two more runs came in via an error and a passed ball for a 7-5 Thunder advantage.

“I knew right when we took the lead we had this thing won,” said Shelley, who added a two-run triple in the fifth. “But even when we had the lead, we had to keep pushing on. We had to keep going throughout the entire game.”

Decatur sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning and scored its runs on five hits and an error.

“I think our kids were a little bit shell-shocked,” Mountain View coach Aaron Coiteux said. “But we didn’t give up. That’s the important thing.”

Torson responded with his three consecutive strikeouts looking in the second inning. In one stretch in his five innings of work, he retired 10 of 11 batters. He finished with seven strikeouts.

“He came in after that first and mowed them down a little bit,” Coiteux said. “Kind of what a No. 1 (pitcher) is supposed to do.”

Next for the Thunder is a Saturday semifinal against Kelso or Peninsula, then either the championship game or the third-place game at bi-district.

No matter, they will play on to the round of 16.

That is where the Thunder advanced last year before their season ended.

Rivers and Shelley did not want to make any promises but they believe this team is capable of a longer run, perhaps all the way to the final four weekend.

“We aren’t maybe as athletic as we were last year, but we’re a lot closer this year,” Rivers said.

“Put this in quotes,” Shelley added. “We have the talent.”