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Prep highlights: La Center, Montesano baseball set for rematch in 1A district winner-to-state, loser-out game

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 10, 2024, 9:36pm

La Center is one win away from returning to the Class 1A state baseball regional. To get there, the Wildcats will have to go through a familiar foe.

La Center handled Elma 8-0 on Friday at Castle Rock High School in a 1A district tournament loser-out game, setting up a meeting with Montesano on Saturday. La Center defeated Montesano in last year’s district championship game, and more recently, Montesano topped La Center 12-11 in a non-league game April 5.

After falling to the loser-out side of the district bracket with a 3-1 loss to Tenino in Tuesday’s semifinals, the Wildcats took care of business against Elma.

Starting pitcher Austin Aseph went the distance with eight strikeouts and one walk. Despite giving up nine hits over seven innings, Aseph and the Wildcats’ defense denied Elma from getting any runs across.

La Center’s offensive production was evenly-distributed. Justin Fuller went 2-for-3 with two RBI, Caden Taylor went 2-for-3, including a double, and Wyatt Bethje also chipped in a 2-for-3 effort with an RBI. Smith Stimmel knocked in two runs on a base hit as the Wildcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

First pitch of Saturday’s winner-to-state, loser-out game is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Castle Rock High School.

MONTESANO 8, KING’S WAY CHRISTIAN 6 — The Knights fell in a loser-out game after building an early 3-0 lead through three innings.

King’s Way pitcher Derek Tarnoski allowed just four hits in 5 2/3 innings, but the Bulldogs made their move during a six-run fourth inning that included four King’s Way errors.

Later trailing 8-5 in the sixth inning, the Knights loaded the bases with no outs and got one run back when Tarnoski scored on a passed ball. Montesano then got King’s Way to fly out and turned a double play to end the frame.

Tarnoski led the Knights (9-14) with two hits, Makani Geisen hit an RBI double, Reece Johnson hit a double and Jace Barnes had an RBI.

Montesano’s Tyson Perry, Tyler Johansen and Bode Poler each accounted for two RBI.


KELSO 6, PRAIRIE 5 — Karmynn Petrisor hit a go-ahead RBI single and Royal Grafton added a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to lead the Lassies to a 3A Greater St. Helens League win on the road.

Kelso’s Kylie Killett pitched seven innings complete with 10 strikeouts and two walks, while giving up six hits and one earned run. Kyleigh Day had a team-high two hits.

League champion Prairie suffered its first and only loss of the 3A GSHL slate in its final regular season game. Payton Miller finished with three RBI, including a two-run base hit in the fifth inning to force a 4-4 tie.

Payton Blunt led Prairie with three hits, including an RBI double, and Mackenzie Moore went 2-for-4.

BATTLE GROUND 8, HERITAGE 3 — Tigers starting pitcher Zoey Hughes threw 10 strikeouts and scattered six hits across seven innings in a tune-up game for both teams ahead of next week’s bi-district tournament.

Battle Ground scored all of its runs across the first two innings, which started with base hits from Hailey Ferguson, Seyah Lindersmith and Hughes, who got the Tigers on the board with an RBI. In the second inning, a Makenzy Newton bases-loaded single brought in three runs to give the Tigers an 8-0 advantage.

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Heritage’s Kylie Thomas had two RBI on a base hit in the fourth inning.

Battle Ground, the No. 3 seed from the 4A Greater St. Helens League, moves on to play in the May 17-18 4A bi-district tournament in Kent. Heritage, the No. 2 team in the 3A GSHL, will play in the 3A bi-district tournament beginning May 16 in Lacey.

CAMAS 16, MOUNTAIN VIEW 2 — The Papermakers closed the season with a big offensive performance highlighted by Azlin Wong and Grace Barsness each going 3-for-4.

Wong’s two doubles and four RBI led Camas while Sophia Chambers added a double and three RBI. Camas starting pitcher Jayda Peterson struck out three batters and allowed two hits over three innings.

Mountan View’s Izzi West led the Thunder with two hits.

LA CENTER 14, KALAMA 11 — Aspyn Gravelle’s game-tying, three-run home run in the seventh inning sparked the Wildcats to a comeback win.

Sadie Schmidt, who went 4-for-4, followed with an RBI double, Jesse Tomberlin added an RBI triple then scored on an error to complete a six-run inning and relief pitcher Paeyten Kilborn blanked the Chinooks in the bottom half of the frame to earn the win. Hailey Piper added three hits and two RBI for the Wildcats.

Kalama’s Colbie Manninen had a team-high two hits, including an RBI double, and Brooklyn Lavigne hit a two-run double.