River wins game, Mountain View wins toss

Class 3A GSHL baseball race endswith a three-way tie

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

The Columbia River Chieftains did their part, the Kelso Hilanders took care of their end of the deal, and the Mountain View Thunder lost but felt relieved Friday afternoon.

Quite the end to a crazy Class 3A Greater St. Helens League baseball season.

Columbia River's Clark Bryant threw a three-hit shutout, leading the Chieftains to a 6-0 victory over Mountain View and tying the Thunder atop the league standings at 12-3.

Kelso, meanwhile, beat Prairie to get to 12-3, as well.

There was no way to break the tie from results because Mountain View took two out of three from Kelso, Kelso took two out of three from Columbia River, and Columbia River took two out of three from Mountain View.

Instead, league official flipped coins. Mountain View got the odd coin, which gave the Thunder the top seed. Kelso then was No. 2 based on the season series against Columbia River.

That means Columbia River, a league champion with Mountain View and Kelso, will play a loser-out game against No. 4 Prairie in the district tournament next week.

Regardless of the seedings, the Chieftains were thrilled to be one of the league champions.

"It means a lot, especially to us seniors," said Bryant, who won league titles in football and basketball this school year, as well.

Bryant pitched to the minimum through four innings. The first two base hits he gave up were erased by the River defense with double plays.

"It was awesome. Let them hit the ball because I have everyone behind me," he said.

Bryant got stronger in the later innings, getting his four strikeouts in the sixth and seventh.

"It was one of the best performances I've seen by a high school player on three days rest," Columbia River coach Stephen Donohue said.

Bryant also started the scoring for River with a double in the top of the first inning to plate Michael McCann, who reached on an error.

"After that first inning when we scored that first run, I just knew," Bryant said. "We came out with energy, and the pressure was on them."

Trey Walker, the No. 9 hitter in the River lineup, kept the second inning alive with a two-out single. He came around to score on a double from McCann.

"Michael is one of the best hitters on the team," Walker said. "It's my responsibility to get on base, and it's his responsibility to get me in."

Oscar Golberg blasted a solo shot to open the third and give the Chieftains a 3-0 lead.

An error would lead to three unearned runs in the fourth inning. Golberg drove in a another run, and Tyler Jacobs had a two-run single to make it 6-0.

Golberg and Bryant each had three hits, and Walker was 2 for 2 with a sacrifice bunt as the Chieftains got it done up and down the lineup.

Walker said rallying to tie for the league title was special.

"We started clicking at as a team, finally. I'm confident we can keep it going," he said.