YAKIMA — That final loss of a season always hurts.
More so when that loss comes in a championship game.
Nothing can make the Woodland Beavers feel better after Saturday’s result in the Class 1A baseball state championship game at Yakima County Stadium.
Chase Wells was solid on the mound and dominant in the batter’s box, leading Naches Valley to a 7-1 victory.
Still, the Beavers do appreciate all that they did accomplish this season.
“It means a lot to go this far,” senior Colton Lucas said. “No one in school history has done this before. It is something special. It was a great time.”
The Beavers made their first appearance in the state championship and also won a school-record 25 games.
Woodland coach Stephen Short said he did not do anything other than “provide the guys a platform to be as successful as they were. They really deserve the credit.”
The Beavers did fall a win short of the ultimate prize. But instead of questioning their miscues, the Beavers gave credit to the Rangers.
“The other team was just having a great day,” Lucas said.
Wells had himself a night to remember, leading the Rangers to their fourth state title in program history.
Wells threw a complete game, limiting the Beavers to five hits. Woodland did not score until the sixth inning, by then trailing by six runs.
Wells also was Naches Valley’s big bat, going 3 for 3 with a triple and driving in three runs.
The Rangers jumped out to the early lead with a run in the first inning on a hit batter, two hits, a walk and a Woodland error.
Wells, who had the run-scoring single in the first, got another single to score a run in a three-run third inning for the Rangers. Naches Valley had three consecutive hits in the frame to take a 4-0 lead.
Wells came through again in the sixth, driving in a run with a triple. He scored on Sam Wells’ single to make it 6-0.
Woodland avoided the shutout when Trevor Huddleston doubled to open the bottom of the sixth. An out later, Hunter Huddleston doubled home Trevor.
Naches Valley added another run in the seventh and totalled 13 hits in the game against Woodland pitching.
“We played a Naches team that played as close to perfect baseball as they could,” Short said. “You can’t be ashamed to lose to a team that played their best game of the year.”
Woodland did not play its best, but it was not from lack of effort.
“Winning the district championship and being No. 1 in state (in the rankings), those things are impressive,” Short said. “The most impressive thing about these guys is their desire and willingness to work. They devoured practice.
“Their desire to be great … is something that is going to make them winners in life.”
NACHES VALLEY 7, WOODLAND 1
Naches Valley 103 002 1—7 13 0
Woodland 000 001 0—1 5 3
Pitchers — Chase Wells 7 IP, win. Highlights — C. Wells 3-3, 3B, 3 RBI; Sam Wells 2-4, RBI; Jay Whorton 2-5; Cam Walker 3-5; Corey Hill 1-2, RBI; Chase Olson 1-2, 2B; Ryker Cyr 1-3, RBI.
Pitchers — Aaron Shoup 3+ IP, loss; Colton Lucas 4 IP. Highlights — Trevor Huddleston 2-3, 2B; Gabe Steinauer 1-3, 2B; Cooper Lucas 1-2; Hunter Huddleston 1-3, 2B, RBI.