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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Columbia River back in 2A baseball semifinals after wins over White River, W.F. West

Rapids (20-6) face Lynden in next Friday's 2A state semifinal in Bellingham

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 18, 2024, 9:29pm
2 Photos
Columbia River players pose for a photograph after their 6-3 win over W.F. West on Saturday to secure their second berth in the 2A state semifinals in the past three seasons.
Columbia River players pose for a photograph after their 6-3 win over W.F. West on Saturday to secure their second berth in the 2A state semifinals in the past three seasons. (Meg Wochnick/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

For every accomplishment Columbia River’s baseball team has achieved this 2024 season, more attire gets added to players’ wardrobes. 

The excitement of winning Saturday’s 2A baseball regional at Propstra Stadium — the latter coming with a 6-3 win over W.F. West in the final to secure their second state semifinal berth in three seasons — led to the chant of “more T-shirts” from players following their postgame celebration. 

“We’re excited to get all four of our t-shirts,” senior Charlie Palmersheim, noting T-shirts earned from River’s share of the 2A Greater St. Helens League title, district championship, regional win, and advancing to the state semifinals in Bellingham next weekend. 

River, the lone District 4 representative in this year’s semifinals, faces Lynden at 10 a.m. Friday at Bellingham’s Joe Martin Stadium. 

But it’s more than T-shirts the Rapids are excited for, especially the team’s 14 seniors. It’s being part of what senior Zach Ziebell called a “big memory moment for us.” Ziebell is one of four seniors who, as sophomores, were in the state semifinal lineup on a team that eventually reached the 2A state championship game in Yakima. 

“For all the seniors getting to experience the final four again,” Ziebell said, “it’s just another week of playing together. It’s a huge memory. Everybody that went there two years ago (in Yakima), that’s probably their favorite memory. It’s a huge bonding trip, and getting all the guys together.”

After Saturday’s 4-1 win over White River behind a 71-pitch, complete-game four-hitter from Ziebell, the regional final against the Bearcats of Chehalis (19-7) was a rematch of last week’s district championship tilt that River won 9-2. 

Players acknowledged facing a quality team for the second time in seven days can be dangerous, but senior Peter Lubisich said River coaches reminded players of one thing.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, what uniform they’re wearing,” said Lubisich, “we’re playing River baseball.”

That’s why confidence was high Saturday, even as W.F. West got off to a quick 1-0 start in the first. The Bearcats had 12 hits, but River got 13 from eight different players, including multi-hit games from Chris Parkin, Zayne Boyes, Lubisich and Ziebell. 

In fact, Ziebell, a Pacific Lutheran commit, went 3 for 4 in the lineup’s nine-spot after his Game 1 pitching performance. He also got the start at second base. His clutch two-out, two-RBI single in the fifth pushed River’s lead from one run to three at 5-2. 

Starting pitcher Noah Coakes, who entered Saturday with a 7-0 record and a 0.80 earned-run average, allowed two earned runs on 10 hits and struck out five over five innings. He sat at 45 pitches after two innings, but ended the Bearcats’ biggest threat in the third when he struck out lead-off hitter Deacon Mueller with the bases loaded to preserve a one-run game. Only two hits were allowed in his final two innings of work. 

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The two victories Saturday were the team’s 18th over its past 19 games after starting the season 2-5. It’s easy for any team to fold up after dropping five of its first seven games, but Lubisich explained why the Rapids didn’t. 

“When you’re at your lowest,” said Lubisich, who had three hits and two RBI in two games Saturday, “and when you lose games, that’s when it brings out the character in people. You see guys crumble and become selfish. You didn’t see it with our squad. You saw our guys bond together, and create memories.”

The Rapids hope more memories are in the making next weekend in Bellingham. 

Said Palmersheim: “We’re just ready to keep playing.”

At Propstra Stadium

COLUMBIA RIVER 4, WHITE RIVER 1

White Riv. 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 – 1 4 0

Col. River 0 0 0 2 1 1 X – 4 9 1

White River

Pitching — Aaden Rathbun 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K; Highlights — Rathbun 1-3, R; Titan Seibert 1-3; Caleb Dale 1-3; Zach Long 1-2.

Columbia River

Pitching — Zachary Ziebell 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K; Highlights — Chris Parkin 2-4, R; Charlie Palmersheim 2-3; Zayne Boyes 1-3; Peter Lubisich 1-1, R, RBI; Harry Hoffarth 1-3, RBI; Cole Backlund 1-2, R; Kian SIegel 1-3, R, RBI.

COLUMBIA RIVER 6, W.F. WEST 3

Col. River 0 2 1 0 2 1 0 – 6 13 1

WF West 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 – 3 12 0

Columbia River

Pitching — Noah Coakes 5 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K; Charlie Palmersheim 2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB; Highlights — Noah Larson 1-3, Palmersheim 1-5, 2 RBI; Chris Parkin 2-4, R, Zayne Byes 2-3, R; Peter Lubisich 2-3, R, RBI; Harry Hoffarth 1-2, 2 R; Cole Backlund 1-2; Zach Ziebell 3-4, 2 RBI.

WF West

Pitching — Ozretich 4.2 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K; Westlund 2.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K; Highlights — Mueller 1-3, R; Potter 1-4, RBI; Jones 2-4; Kelly 3-4; Coleman 1-4, R; Westland 3-4, 2 RBI; Dvorak 1-3.

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