With Huddleston in the zone, Woodland in the semifinals

Pitcher leads Beavers into 1A baseball semifinals

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers writer

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CASTLE ROCK — Woodland’s Trevor Huddleston struck out the first batter he faced on Saturday afternoon during the Class 1A state baseball state tournament.

The first batter he faced was in relief with two outs in the fifth inning of their 5-3 win over Charles Wright Academy of Tacoma.

Then, Huddleston rode the momentum after getting the final four outs only an hour earlier, striking out 11 in seven innings to propel Woodland to a 1-0 win over South Whidbey, sending the Beavers to 1A state semfinals.

Woodland will face Kiona Benton in the 1A semifinal on Friday in Yakima.

“In the first game, I could really locate my curveball and that really went on into the second game,” Huddleston said following the quarterfinal win. “It started early even though we couldn’t put the bat on the ball in the second game.”

Huddleston was dealing and his curveball was leaving South Whidbey hitters bamboozled.

Huddleston said he hasn’t been in the zone like he was on Saturday all season.

“I was in that groove last year in the district semifinal against Montesano and the district championship last year against Tenino,” he said about the last time he felt that good on the mound. “It’s usually playoffs. I can’t do it in the regular season. Just my mind is right.”

But South Whidbey had a fantastic pitching performance of their own from starting Brent Pichler.

“We were hitting everything up. It was frustrating,” Huddleston said.

Fly out after fly out, Pichler was mowing down Woodland hitters.

Had Huddleston ever been in a duel like this?

“No. Not like that,” he said.

With one out in the bottom of the sixth inning, Woodland’s Joe Rodgers lined a single for the first base hit of the game. Then lead-off man Aaron Shoup kept the rally going in the next at-bat with a triple to drive in Rodgers to give Woodland the lead.

Huddleston surrendered a hit to South Whidbey’s Ricky Muzzy to start the final frame. But he worked through the jam with the tying run ending the game stranded at third base.

Now the Beavers will head to Yakima where they need to win two games to take home the 1A baseball btate title.

“I’ve never been there and I’m glad we are,” Huddleston said.