It is so sudden, elimination baseball.
One day, Mountain View was flying high, with a league title, a district championship, and a chance to play in Clark County at the state regionals.
The next day, nope. It’s over for the Thunder.
Skyline pitchers Jack Simpson and Connor Knutson combined for a three-hitter, and the Spartans beat the Thunder 4-2 Saturday in a Class 4A bi-district playoff baseball game at Propstra Stadium.
“It was fun to get out here in a win-to-go-to-state situation, playing with a great defense behind me,” said Simpson, who threw into the fifth inning for the win.
“I like the pressure, I like to compete,” said Knutson, who came in with two runners on in the fifth inning and finished the game for the save. “I think we have a great defense. I knew I could throw strikes and they’d be making all the plays behind me.”
Skyline scored two in the third and one more in the top of the fourth to take a 3-0 lead.
The Thunder would get one back in the bottom of the fourth on an error and a wild pitch.
Skyline responded again in the fifth, and the Thunder returned the favor, again scoring without an RBI — this time on a Skyline error.
The Thunder did not threaten in the sixth and seventh innings, though.
“It’s the most fun team I’ve ever been around, a great group of guys,” said Mountain View’s Jake Ryan, one of 12 seniors. “It sucks it ended earlier than we wanted to, but we accomplished a lot this year. I’m going to miss this team a lot.”
Ryan had two of the Thunder’s three hits Saturday. Christian Maddox got the other hit.
Colin Biggs went the distance on the mound for the Thunder.
Mountain View coach Aaron Coiteux told his players he loved them, appreciated all they had done for the program.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” Coiteux said. “If we played a clean game, we’d have had a good opportunity to win. We made a few mistakes, and they made us pay.
“We just couldn’t get the hit, the big hit. That’s just part of baseball.”
The Thunder will return to Class 3A next school year but leave 4A as Greater St. Helens League and District 4 champions.
“They left a legacy for the next group of kids,” Coiteux said.
SKYLINE 4, MOUNTAIN VIEW 2
Skyline 002 110 0—4 7 3
Mtn. View 000 110 0—2 3 2
Pitcher — Jack Simpson 4+ IP, win, 4 Ks; Connor Knutson 3 IP, save, 4 Ks. Highlights — Riley Gill 1-4; Dax Kringle 1-4, 2B, RBI; Cole Hinkelman 1-2, 2B, RBI; Alejandro Graterol 1-3; Kyle Strash 1-2; Ben Smith 1-3; Tommy Swinscoe 1-3, 2B, RBI.
Pitcher — Colin Biggs 7 IP, loss, 5 Ks. Highlights — Jake Ryan 2-3; Christian Maddox 1-3.