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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Youthful Union baseball team relishes competition against 4A GSHL counterparts

Behind sophomore Jacob Chandler’s three-hit gem, Titans avenge earlier loss to Skyview with 2-1 win

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 9, 2024, 9:07pm
3 Photos
Members of the Union baseball team go through the handshake line after a 2-1 win over Skyview in a 4A Greater St. Helens League baseball game at Skyview High School on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.
Members of the Union baseball team go through the handshake line after a 2-1 win over Skyview in a 4A Greater St. Helens League baseball game at Skyview High School on Tuesday, April 9, 2024. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Union baseball coach Lee Hunter offered high praise for starting pitcher Jacob Chandler after Tuesday’s performance against Skyview — the kind rarely ascribed to a sophomore.

“Jacob Chandler — remember that name,” Hunter said. “He’s special.”

In the Titans’ 2-1 win over the Storm, which avenged a 7-0 loss one day prior in both teams’ 4A Greater St. Helens League opener, Chandler tossed a complete game with six strikeouts and one walk while scattering three hits across seven innings.

Protecting a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, the Titans worked around two Skyview runners on base with one out. Catcher Blake Sutton picked off a runner at second base before Chandler got the Storm to fly out to seal the win.

“That was a hell of a throw by Blake, our catcher, to get the runner at second. That was a huge momentum shifter for us and them, and that kind of fired me up to close it out,” Chandler said.

“My competitiveness, that’s what kept me in the game. I didn’t have my best stuff on the mound, but my drive, I think, kept me in the game.”

Yes, you read that right. Chandler told Union coaches before the game he didn’t have his best stuff on this particular afternoon, but the right-handed pitcher found a way to be plenty effective. He threw 64 strikes on 97 pitches with a combination fastball, curveball and change-up.

It was another example of why Hunter believes Union has a matchup advantage in the 4A GSHL with its number two pitcher behind top arm Ty Sutton.

“He came out and competed,” Hunter said. “How he carried himself, he’s your prototypical dream player, and the guys feed off that.”

Hunter, the Titans’ second-year coach, inherited a veteran group last year led by seniors Dylan Osborne, Evan McGuire and Dylan Richardson, all of whom now play college baseball. The 2024 team has significantly less experience, but they’re ahead of schedule, in part, because like Chandler, they’re eager to compete.

Union’s 5-5 record is also somewhat deceiving. The Titans played a tough non-league schedule, including a 4-3 win against defending Class 4A champion Eastlake, plus four games over spring break at the San Diego Downtown Lions High School Baseball Tournament. Union walked away with wins over Palisades (Calif.) and Banning (Calif.).

“When facing teams like that, they’re playing year round, they know how to play baseball,” Chandler said. “So that just prepared us for moments like these and the rest of league play.”

Union scored both of its runs in the second inning, including a Carston Mallory RBI single, to capture a win on Skyview’s home field.

In an always tightly-contested 4A GSHL race, the Titans see themselves as somewhat of an underdog with their youth. They also believe a win like Tuesday can serve as the linchpin that starts their run over the stretch run of the regular season. After facing Skyview (6-4) in a rubber match Thursday, Union will have a pair of three-game series on deck against Camas and Battle Ground.

“We’re ready,” Chandler said. “This game will definitely fire us up. We definitely want to take it home Thursday, and we’re going to take it to Camas and Battle Ground.”

UNION 2, SKYVIEW 1

Union 020 000 0—2 4 1

Skyview 000 100 0—1 3 4

Union

Pitching — Jacob Chandler 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 1 BB; Highlights — Drew Hertenstein 1-4; Ty Sutton 1-3, R; Carston Mallory 2-3, RBI, SB.

Skyview

Pitching — Dylan Goetz 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 K, 1 BB; Highlights — Brady Davis 1-3, R, 2B, SB; Caden Spanier 1-3, 2B; Kellen Wiggins 1-2, 2B.

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