Columbia River win keeps 3A GSHL baseball race jumbled

Chieftains' victory could lead to title tie among three teams

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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The Columbia River Chieftains gave themselves a chance.

That was all they could have asked for Wednesday afternoon.

Kelso remains in the hunt, as well.

And the first-place Mountain View Thunder still have most of the power. If they win Friday, they will win the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League baseball title outright.

However, if River beats Mountain View, and Kelso beats Prairie, there will be a three-way tie for first place.

Not even the coaches knew Wednesday which teams would get the Nos. 1-3 seeds for the district tournament.

All of this was made possible when the Chieftains scored a 9-4 victory over Mountain View. Oscar Golberg had three hits, Bryson Oury drove in two runs, and Andrew Haley pitched four innings of relief to get the win.

Mountain View fell to 12-2 in league play. Columbia River improved to 11-3. Kelso beat Prairie on Wednesday to also move to 11-3.

It will all sort itself out eventually.

Wednesday, though, belonged to the Chieftains, who rallied from a 3-0 deficit.

"It's a great feeling, especially after getting down early in this game like that," Haley said. "We didn't hang our heads. It was good to bat the ball around the park and get some runs."

The Thunder, who were trying to close out the No. 1 seed on Wednesday to avoid any Friday drama, scored three runs in the top of the third. Greg Ryan drove in a run with a base hit, and Andrew Krafve added a two-run single.

River, though, responded right away with four consecutive hits to open the bottom of the third. Golberg and Oury had run-scoring singles in the frame. Dalton Wienecke drove in a run with a fielder's choice and the Chieftains scored another off an error for a 4-3 advantage.

Haley took to the mound for River in the fourth inning and slowed Mountain View's attack, allowing one run in his four innings of work.

"I knew we could hit. We just had to believe in ourselves," Haley said. "And I had to do my job on the mound."

River added to its lead with three runs in the fifth -- a sacrifice fly from Sam Walker and a two-run error by the Thunder.

Mountain View' Russel Culverwell hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth to make it 7-4, but the Chieftains would make it a five-run game with two in the bottom of the frame. Clark Bryant had a run-scoring single, and Oury grounded out but drove in a run.

"It felt really good to get a win on Senior day," said Golberg. "It was great to come back strong after that shaky third inning."

The Chieftains have a shot at a co-title and the No. 1 seed.

Mountain View has other plans.

See ya Friday.