The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports editor 

Seventh inning rallies over Warriors, Lightning propel Goldendale baseball to district playoffs

 

Jaryd Cline

The Timberwolves celebrate at home plate after Josh Ortiz hit a walk-off home run in the seventh inning during the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against Cle Elum.

Heading into Saturday's league doubleheader against the Cle Elum Warriors, the Timberwolves needed to win two of their next four games on the diamond to advance to the South Central Athletic Conference District Tournament.

Winless up to that point in SCAC West contests, it looked like the Timberwolves still would be looking for their first conference wins when they closed out the regular season on Tuesday in La Salle after the Warriors took the first game 8-5 and led 8-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning in the second game.

Cle Elum hadn't trailed in either game on Saturday and was talking about closing Goldendale out in five innings with the 10-run rule after they opened up an 8-0 lead in the second game going into the bottom of the fifth. But Goldendale's bats were just getting started.

The Timberwolves scored two runs in the fifth, two more in the sixth, but still trailed 8-4 with just three outs left going into the bottom of the seventh. But on senior day at Jackson Field, all seven seniors who stepped up to the plate in the final inning delivered, capped by a screaming line drive off the bat of Josh Ortiz that easily cleared the centerfield fence for a three run walk-off home run, giving Goldendale the 11-8 win.

Rennen Kauffman led off and set the stage for the rest of the inning with a long at bat which resulted in a two-strike single to left field. Alex Mains followed and cut the team's deficit in half with a two-run homer that cleared the left field fences and made it 8-6 Cle Elum. It was Mains' third long ball of the day and second in the nightcap with the first a solo shot one inning earlier. The Timberwolves were still down two runs, but weren't close to being done with the bats.

Following Mains, Justin Wells reached on an infield single, and advanced to second after Dylan Denning's single. Joe Randall put the ball in play and took second on an error that scored Wells and all the sudden the winning run was on second base with nobody out.

Mitchell Bane tied the game with an RBI single, bringing up Ortiz with two on and no outs and the rest is history. He was mobbed at home plate after rounding the bases and the big group of Goldendale seniors were winners in their last regular season home game of their careers.

Before the seventh inning explosion, Goldendale was down 8-0 in the fifth, but slowly chipped away each inning until walking off. Jacob Bischoff got the Wolves on the board first with his RBI double in the fifth, and Kauffman plated Bischoff with a single in the next at bat, but was thrown out trying to advance to second.

Mains led off the bottom of the sixth with his solo shot, and Blake Best walked with the bases loaded to make it 8-4 Cle Elum. Ortiz started on the mound for the Timberwolves, and Denning came on and threw well in relief.

In the opening game, Cle Elum jumped ahead 3-0 in the third inning, but Mains connected for his first home run of the day that scored Kauffman and made it 3-2 Warriors. Cle Elum held the lead the rest of the game and won after retiring Goldendale's last six hitters.

They weren't done yet after splitting with the Warriors. Goldendale was in La Salle for two crucial games on Tuesday, needing at least one win to finish in a three-way tie for third place in the West.

Goldendale took care of business in the opener, leading the entire game and winning 6-2. They jumped ahead early with two runs in the top of the second, and La Salle made it 2-1 when they scored once in the fifth. The Wolves added four insurance runs in the seventh and shut the Lightning down to take game one. On the mound, Mains and Bischoff kept the La Salle hitters in check all game.

With that game one win, Goldendale clinched at least a tie for third, but they wanted more.

Jumping out to an early 1-0 lead after two innings in the second game, La Salle struck for three runs in the third and one more in the fifth, and led 4-1 going into the top of the seventh, needing just three outs to close the game out.

Jaryd Cline

Josh Ortiz high-fives head coach Ann Cochran after rounding third base and heading for home after his walk-off home run.

But as they've done numerous times this season, the Wolves saved their best hitting for the end of the game. They scored five runs in the final inning to take a 6-4 lead, and Bischoff shut the door in the seventh with a one-two-three inning that gave Goldendale the win and eliminated La Salle from playoff contention.

Denning started on the mound and Bischoff came on in relief in the sixth.

With the third place finish, the Wolves clinch a spot in the SCAC District Tournament and meet up with the East's No. 2 seed, the Connell Eagles on Tuesday at 4 p.m. in Connell.

Connell finished the regular season 15-5 overall and 11-3 in league play.

The district bracket can be found online at https://bit.ly/2HKJFdc.

 

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