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2A district baseball: Rocco Wright and Ridgefield beat Mark Morris 6-0 to advance to state

Seventh-inning rally by Tumwater beats R.A. Long

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: May 11, 2024, 4:53pm
4 Photos
Members of the Ridgefield baseball team celebrate their 6-0 win over Mark Morris in a 2A district winner-to-state baseball game at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Center on Saturday, May 11, 2024.
Members of the Ridgefield baseball team celebrate their 6-0 win over Mark Morris in a 2A district winner-to-state baseball game at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Center on Saturday, May 11, 2024. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

RIDGEFIELD — Ridgefield baseball coach Nick Allen wanted two things out of his Spudders on Saturday.

He wanted his players to have fun, and he wanted senior Rocco Wright on the mound.

“We don’t do this very often, when we throw a kid on three day’s rest,” Allen said. “We’ve probably lost the games the last couple of years because we haven’t. … But he and I talked after the game Wednesday. He said he felt good, felt strong. … So here’s the ball, bud. Got get it. And he did that.”

Wright struck out five, walked none and gave up just five hits in seven shutout innings, leading the Spudders to a 6-0 win over Mark Morris and into the 2A state playoffs.

“It feels pretty good,” Wright said. “It feels like all the hard works has paid off, sort of cashing the check. I couldn’t thank my defense enough, as well as (Colton Warren) right here. It’s a no-fly zone along the infield. I couldn’t do any of this without my team, so I want to thank them first.”

It was the second shutout Wright threw in this district tournament, shutting down Rochester on three hits in a 2-0 win on Tuesday.

He came up big for the Spudders, who have been fighting to find some offense all week.

“We’ve struggled offensively the last couple of weeks, and this week especially,” Allen said. “They just played tense, and I don’t think they handled the pressure well on Tuesday and Wednesday. So the focus today was this is fun. Go have fun.”

The fun started in the third inning for the Spudders with the bottom of the order.

Wyatt Hemmelman singled to left to score Kemp Fisher for the Spudders’ first run, and Henry Wikstrom followed a two-run double. Warren’s RBI single at the top of the order capped a four-run rally.

“That’s been our M.O. all season; it’s just who’s going to step up,” Warren said. “It’s great that we can rely on if 1-2-3-4 (of the lineup) aren’t putting in all of our runs, the bottom half of the lineup, they’re always contributing too. … If you look at (our game results), it’s a different guy every time.”

Landon DeBeaumont added a sacrifice fly and Liam Ostrom had a run-scoring double in the fifth as the Spudders padded their lead.

From there, Wright set the Monarchs down to send the Spudders to state.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Warren said. “We were so close last year. It feels like we’ve had all the pieces there from the start, and we were just able to put it together.”

Considering that District 4 has sent two teams to the final four of state last year, and three of the four in 2022 — including the state champion both years — just surviving through this district and getting to state looks like a big opportunity for the Spudders.

“We’re kind of focused on this moment right now and enjoying this moment,” Allen said. “But moving forward, that will be the talk that this is the starting point. Because if you can get out of this district, you have a chance to make a long run.

“And I don’t think we are any different because we pitch and play defense. And pitching and defense wins you ball games.”

TUMWATER 3, R.A. LONG 2 — Tumwater scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally past the Lumberjacks and R.A. Long’s season.

Logan Dorland’s RBI double and a sacrifice fly by Nick Niday gave R.A. Long a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning.

But the Thunderbirds opened the bottom of the seventh with two walks, and a single by Derek Thompson tied the game at 2-2. After a sacrifice put runners on second and third with one out, Eddie Marson’s RBI single won the game.