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Monday, February 26, 2024
Feb. 26, 2024

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Late-game Columbia River baseball rally signifies team’s progress

Four-run inning puts Rapids over the top of Ridgefield for 6-3 win

By , Columbian staff writer
3 Photos
Columbia River’s Chris Parkin (7) is greeted by Zayne Boyes (19) after scoring on a single by Noah Larson during the Rapids' 6-3 win over Ridgefield in a 2A Greater St. Helens League baseball game at Columbia River on Friday, April 14, 2023.
Columbia River’s Chris Parkin (7) is greeted by Zayne Boyes (19) after scoring on a single by Noah Larson during the Rapids' 6-3 win over Ridgefield in a 2A Greater St. Helens League baseball game at Columbia River on Friday, April 14, 2023. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Columbia River’s baseball team is beginning to see the progress make a difference as it goes deeper into the spring season.

Before a 6-3 win over Ridgefield on Friday, the Rapids hadn’t felt the pressure of a game so close.

They faced multi-run deficits in three losses, and the majority of their eight wins were by comfortable margins.

Then came a Spudders team trying to capitalize on a Rapids error and make them pay for it.

After Dillon Kirskey plated a tying run on a line-drive single, a River throw to first base to get out of the inning was dropped, allowing Ridgefield pinch runner Sam Clark to cross home plate and give the Spudders their first lead, 3-2.

The Rapids’ response was telling. Not only did they score four unanswered runs in the bottom half of the inning, they started the surge with the bottom of their order.

First came the tying run, an attempted Austin Habets sacrifice fly that Ridgefield dropped in the outfield for an error. Charlie Palmersheim followed by putting a ball in play that allowed Zach Ziebell to beat Ridgefield’s throw at home plate for the go-ahead run.

The top of River’s order added the insurance. Chris Parkin delivered an RBI and reached base on an error, before Noah Larson tacked on an RBI single for a three-run advantage.

“It was just really great to see our players come back with some rally,” Parkin said. “Not bury our heads, not get (down) on ourselves and truly go to work. It was great to see that.”

Larson went 3-for-4 with three RBI and relief pitcher Noah Coakes earned the win by pitching the final two innings with three strikeouts and one hit allowed.

“Like I told them, it’s a good sign when we’re trailing and fighting for seven (innings),” Columbia River head coach Stephen Donohue added. “We could’ve easily just kind of felt sorry for ourselves and instead, we turned right back around and got a four spot and finished the game.”

The Rapids will take those small victories, no matter how they come.

A team that finished second place at last season’s Class 2A state tournament now feels like an underdog, Larson said.

By graduating a talented senior class, two of whom now play college baseball, Sam Boyle (Washington) and Casey Struckmeier (Linfield), River lacked experience entering this season. Early on, it showed.

After losing two of its first three games in March, River has won seven of eight.

Friday’s win moved River (8-3, 5-2 2A GSHL) into a tie with Ridgefield (7-5, 5-2) for third place in the league standings. Mark Morris and Hudson’s Bay currently occupy first and second place, respectively.

“We had our big run last year, but each game is just a step, it’s a mile in the marathon,” Larson said. “We’ve got five games each week the next two weeks. I think we’ve just got to take it each time, not overthink it too much. We’ve got some studs in the field.”

With five games in as many days next week, River will likely face its biggest test of the season thus far.

Part of the challenge is how River organizes its pitching staff. The Rapids used two pitchers Friday in sophomores Coakes and Harrison Hoffarth, who went five innings with six strikeouts, two walks, two hits and one earned run allowed. Donohue estimates the team has up to 10 or 11 players capable of throwing innings.

The five-game stretch starts Monday with a rematch against Ridgefield. Kirksey and Wyatt Bartroff led the Spudders with one hit and one RBI apiece.


Ridgefield 000 102 0—3 3 5

Col. River 001 014 0—6 6 1


Pitching — Rocco Wright 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 K, 2 BB; Brody Masterson 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 K, 1 BB; Highlights — Dillon Kirksey 1-2, RBI; Wyatt Bartroff 1-3, RBI; Max Daniels 1-3; Colton Warren 1 R.

Columbia River

Pitching — Harrison Hoffarth 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 2 BB; Noah Coakes 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 K, 2 BB; Highlights — Chris Parkin 2 R, RBI; Noah Larson 3-4, 3 RBI; Zayne Boyes 1-3; Peter Lubisich 1-4; Cole Backlund 1-4; Kaden MacDonald 1 R; Zach Ziebell 1 R; Austin Habets 1 R, RBI; Charlie Palmersheim 1 R, RBI.