RIDGEFIELD — To put in perspective how much time has passed since 2006, the last time Hudson’s Bay reached the state baseball playoffs, consider the following.
Head coach Greg Peavey, a Hudson’s Bay alumnus, was a junior in high school — a couple years before the right-handed pitcher played at Oregon State and later pursued a professional career in the minors.
Some players on the 2023 Bay team hadn’t been born yet, and the ones who had were still babies.
“It’s been too long,” Peavey said of the Eagles’ state drought.
From the opening frame of Friday’s Class 2A District 4 winner-to-state, loser-out game against Ridgefield, all signs pointed toward the Eagles putting an end to the streak and starting a new state tradition.
Bay rolled to an 11-4 win at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, the Spudders’ home field, behind a four-run first inning and a lead the Eagles carried through the remainder of the game.
“This is big for Hudson’s Bay. This is crazy,” junior Chanz Flores said. “Last time we were in (state) was 2006, when I was born.”
Flores pitched five innings, scattering five hits and giving up two runs while striking out seven. He also plated the Eagles’ first run on a base hit, before Sebastian Laddusaw followed with a two-run triple and reached home in the same sequence. Flores and Jason Soumokil led Bay with two hits apiece, while Soumokil, Sebastian Laddusaw and Shay Bradley each hit two RBI.
The early four-spot appeared to galvanize an already lively Eagles dugout as they tried to beat a Ridgefield team that ended their 2022 season in a loss at districts.
That loss, in addition to the Eagles’ long absence from state, was on their minds from the start of the season, according to Sebastian Laddusaw.
“It started with everyone on the team,” the senior said. “We had to come together as a group and just decide, hey, we’re going to do this, we’re going to get after it — 100 percent of everything we got, every single day.”
Bay (16-6) was knocking on the door last season, finishing in the top four of the 2A Greater St. Helens League, and brought back much of the same core this spring. The biggest difference from one year to the next, Peavey said, is how the team learned to deal with adversity.
“We hadn’t been really been punched in the mouth and been able to respond,” Peavey said. “We got punched and didn’t know how to deal with it. But after that, our skin got a little thicker, we got a little bit tougher and we were able to handle some of those tough spots throughout the season. I think that’s what got us here.”
Flores got out of a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout to end the top of the fourth inning, then got through some turbulence in the fifth to limit Ridgefield’s damage.
Dillon Kirksey scored the Spudders’ first run after tagging up from third base on a pop out in foul territory. Parker Daniels followed with an RBI double.
Flores then got Ridgefield (18-8) to fly out centerfield to end the frame.
“(Sebastian) always reminds me, I always throw good with nobody out, nobody on,” Flores said. “That’s the mindset, basically.”
“He’s always been such an even-keel kid, and he’s the type of guy you want in those situations because he never gets too high, never gets too low,” Peavey added. “There’s nobody I trust more on this planet to be out there on that baseball field, and he did a great job for us.”
Elias Estrada came on to pitch the final two innings for the Eagles, and struck out Ridgefield’s final batter in the seventh to seal a berth in next weekend’s 2A state regional.
For some, ending a 17-year drought would be a big enough accomplishment in itself. Make no mistake, the Eagles want more. In the post-game huddle, Peavey talked about the unfinished business the team has at state since reaching the 4A quarterfinals in 2006.
Anything can happen in the postseason, he said, and the Eagles need to be ready.
“Bay’s always been the underdog,” Laddusaw said. “We got something to prove, so we’re out here to do it.”
“Can’t wait to play in state,” Flores said.
HUDSON’S BAY 11, RIDGEFIELD 4
Ridgefield 000 020 2—4 10 3
Hudson’s Bay 400 034 x—11 7 1
Pitching — Rocco Wright 2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 K, 3 BB; Max Daniels 2.1 IP, 1 H 3 ER, 3 K, 0 BB; Brody Masterson 0.2 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 1 K, 2 BB; Henry Wikstrom 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 K, 0 BB; Highlights — Dillon Kirksey 3-4, 2 R; Brody Masterson 1-4, 1 R; Wyatt Bartroff RBI; Parker Daniels 2-4, 2 2B, 1 R, RBI; Liam Ostrom 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Deven Savella 2-4; Wright 1-2, 2B.
Pitching — Chanz Flores 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 7 K, 2 BB; Elias Estrada 2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 K, 0 BB; Highlights — Estrada 1 R; Tanner Koford 1-4, 1 R; Flores 2-3, 2B, 1 R, RBI; Walker Laddusaw 1 R; Owen Hewett 1 R; Chris Terry 1 R; Sebastian Laddusaw 1-1, 3B, 3 R, 2 RBI; Jason Soumokil 2-4, 1 R, 2 RBI; Shay Bradley 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI.