CAMAS — Jacob Trupp saw the first pitch come over the top of the center of the plate, took a big cut and missed.
He then turned, looked back toward the Union catcher and said “throw another one.”
Two pitches later, they obliged.
“As soon as it hit my bat I knew,” Trupp said.
In the third at-bat of the game, Trupp sent a moon shot over the center field fence — a three-run home run — and Camas built on that early boost to beat Union 10-4 in a 4A Greater St. Helens League opener at Union High School on Friday.
Trupp finished 1-for-3, Tyler Forner went 2 for 4 with two RBI and Grant Heiser went 3 for 4 for the Papermakers.
Luke Staton went 1 for 3 with a double, Union’s only extra base hit, with three RBI to help the Titans inch back in the fifth inning.
But in the end, Union couldn’t get over Camas’ early start.
After Trupp’s homer, the Papermakers (3-2) piled on in the second inning.
Tyler Forner hit a two-RBI single to center field, then scored two batters later on a wild pitch and Gideon Malychewski scored after tagging up on a double-play that ended the inning with Camas up 7-0.
Players say Trupp’s home run served as a catalyst to the rest of the team.
“Batting’s contagious,” Trupp said. “If one guy starts hitting, everyone feels that energy and starts hitting.
“It’s definitely a big deal to come out hard and crush a ball like that and put them down, put up seven runs in the first (two) innings is definitely a good feeling for us.”
Michael Quintana kept Union scoreless through the first four innings, fanning five batters in the first three, but the Titans found a spark in the fifth.
Payton Jeffries scored Travis Wiese on line drive single to center field, then on the next at-bat, Luke Staton hit a line drive double to center field and scored three runners to bring Union within three runs.
The Papermakers scored three more runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
Union (4-2, 0-1) doesn’t feel dissuaded from the result. Coach Ben McGrew saw plenty of positives from his team’s performance. Plus the games that matter, McGrew added, are after spring break anyway.
“At points during the game we were putting good swings on the ball and they were making a few good plays, so it’s just a matter of time where it’s all going to click,” McGrew said. “We just had a few times where we shot ourselves in the foot.”
Camas’ nine hits on Thursday continued a blistering hitting trend it has displayed in the early part of the season.
Sophomore Jake Blair had two home runs in a 24-3 win over Woodland on Tuesday in which the Papermakers had 22 hits, and Forner had two home runs in an 8-7 loss to 3A GSHL favorite Mountain View.
Camas hopes to keep up the hitting in order to compete in what appears to be a tough 4A GSHL.
“We’ve just been really heavy on the bats this year, relying on it almost because we don’t have as many pitchers this year,” Trupp said.
For the Camas players, the matchup with Union went deeper than just two league rivals going to battle. Many of the players play on travel teams together, a competitiveness that flared up in chants from the dugout, extra-boisterous celebrations.
Trupp’s banter before he hit his home run was with a Union player he is friends with.
“Once we finally meet as a high school team it’s really big to see them and compete against him,” Forner said.