MOUNT VERNON — The Columbia River baseball team used a seventh-inning rally to reach the elite eight of the Class 3A state playoffs, but the Chieftains second seventh-inning rally of Saturday fell just short.
Bishop Blanchet of Seattle held off the Chieftains 10-9 in the finals of the Mount Vernon regional and advanced to the semifinals next week in Pasco.
The Chieftains scored three runs in the top of the seventh earlier in the day to beat Mountlake Terrace 5-4, setting up the game against Blanchet. Then the Chieftains scored four in the bottom of the seventh in the final game, stranding the tying run on first base.
“It’s disappointing to lose like that, but I’m really proud of our team,” said junior Oscar Golberg, who went 5 for 5 in the final game and 7 for 9 for the day. “We’re setting the tone for next year, showing what it takes so we can come back next year.”
Senior Tanner Bogart, who drove in runs in both seventh innings, said he is pleased with the progress of the program. The Chieftains went 6-13 last year before going 15-11 this season with this run.
“We turned it around. We all bought into the work last summer,” Bogart said. “The work we were doing was going to show up in the regular season and then the postseason. Everyone got hot when it mattered most.”
The Chieftains nearly made for two consecutive clutch memories. Bogart drove in the first run of the seventh against Blanchet, then Golberg hit a two-run double. Golberg would later come home on an error before the final out was made
“It’s a little bit of a heart break, but we fought for all seven innings,” Bogart said. “At the end of the day, just a little short.”
River jumped out to a 5-1 lead after four innings. But the Braves bounced back with four in the fifth, which included a two-out, three-run triple from Eric Kimpton, then scored three more in the sixth.
“Nobody thought before the season that we would be in the elite eight,” Columbia River coach Stephen Donohue said. “A great accomplishment.”
The Chieftains reached the elite eight with some seventh-inning magic.
Trailing 4-2 after six innings, Trey Walker and Michael McCann drew one-out walks, then Bogart’s double scored the first run of the seventh. After the Chieftains lost a runner to an out at the plate, Golberg tied the game with a full-count, two-out triple, then came home on Clark Bryant’s single for a 5-4 lead.
“I was just trying not to get out,” Golberg said. “Put the ball in play and let Tanner score from second in whatever way I could.”
Sophomore pitcher Seth Rayburn improved to 9-0 with his complete-game victory. He struck out five.
Blanchet made it to Saturday’s regional final with a 7-5 win over Mountain View in the first game of the day. The Braves took advantage of six Thunder errors.
“We just didn’t play well,” Mountain View coach Aaron Coiteux said. “I can’t believe we were actually in the game, honestly.”
Zach Torson drove in three runs for the Thunder. Michael Rivers had two hits, including a triple, and Riley O’Dell had a two-run double for Mountain View.
“I think it was a good season, winning the league and district championships,” Torson said. “But it’s really disappointing. We had high expectations for state. It didn’t work out.”
The 3A Greater St. Helens League advanced three teams to the round of 16. Kelso advanced to the final four.