There were few, if any, heads hanging by the Evergreen Plainsmen.
Sure, they stranded six runners over the final two innings for a 2-1 loss to Timberline in Saturday’s 3A West Central/Southwest bi-district baseball game at Propstra Stadium, but Trevor Swartz summed up the Plainsmen psyche in this way:
“You have to fail to win sometimes,” he said. “That’s what makes baseball great.
“You lose a tough game, but it makes the team stronger.”
Goals are adjusted now if the Plainsmen (15-5 overall) want to reach regional round of the state tournament for the first time since 2004 when it was a Class 4A school. Evergreen must win three loser-out games starting Wednesday against Yelm at Tacoma’s Foss High School.
And Swartz has all the confidence in him and his teammates.
“I believe in this team 100 percent,” he said.
The loss to the Blazers of Lacey came after Evergreen’s 6-1 first-round victory over Peninsula of GIg Harbor. Cameron Hunt and Carter Monda combined for a one-hit shutout and five strikeouts, as the offense pounded out eight hits.
Hits, though, were hard to come by against Timberline (17-5) and starter Tucker Stroup, whom Swartz called the best pitcher the Plainsmen have faced all season.
And for good reason.
Stroup sat Evergreen batters down in order in four of the first five innings, and racked up 10 of his 11 strikeouts over the first five frames. Meanwhile, Stroup’s third-inning RBI single, followed by a run scored in the sixth gave the visitors a 2-0 lead off Evergreen starter Tommy Snyder.
The lefty went 5 1/3 innings, allowed seven hits and struck out three.
Then, Evergreen got some magic in the home sixth. It loaded the bases after Swartz took a hit by pitch, and the next hitter, Josh Hibbard, drew a bases-loaded walk by Stroup — the pitcher’s second of the inning — that cut the deficit to 2-1.
More drama followed in the seventh. After Ryan Logan led off the half-inning with a single, Evergreen loaded the bases with an error and a walk issued by Stroup. Reliever Caleb Beard got Monda and Nate Tomas to pop out, ending the Evergreen threat and its first shot at a regional berth.
“One hit shy,” Evergreen coach Chad Burchett said. “We couldn’t get that one hit to fall.”
Evergreen finished with three hits. Monda and Logan each went 1-for-3 in addition to Izaiah Pitre’s third-inning double with two walks.
EVERGREEN 6, PENINSULA 1 — The Plainsmen overcame four errors in their first-round victory over the Seahawks at Propstra Stadium with a four-spot in the sixth inning.
Hibbard, Pitre and Payton Monda had two hits apiece and combined for six RBI and four runs scored.