By Dan Trujillo
The Camas High School baseball players look forward to more sunny days on the ball field together.
On Friday, under clear skies and comfortable temperatures for the first time in months, the Papermakers steam rolled into spring break on an 8-0 victory over league rival Columbia River.
Camas ace Kurt Yinger tossed his third shutout to start the season, and increased his scoreless streak to 17 innings. He collected 11 strikeouts on the mound, delivered three hits at the plate and drove in three runs.
People are making great plays behind me, and that gives me the confidence to keep throwing strikes, Yinger said. Guys pick you up, and you pick them up. Thats why things are going so well for us right now.
Yinger had the strikeout pitch working. He also got good glove work from Conner King.
The second baseman turned a swift double play in the fourth inning. He also charged a slow-rolling grounder and threw the runner out at first just in time to get Yinger out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth.
Conner has been playing great lately, Yinger said. Hes hitting the ball well, and is separating himself from the pack with great defense. He saved me a couple of times today.
Lead off hitter John Welborn set the tone for the Papermakers with his speed and aggressiveness on the base paths. After getting tagged out on a stolen base attempt in the first inning, Welborn led off the third with another single, stole second and came around to score on a line drive into left field by Jeremy Faulkner. Welborn also drove in a run on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.
I feel honored my coaches trust me enough to hit lead off, he said. I just go up there with the mentality to get on base, and to get around the bases and score a run for us any way that I can.
We call him Johnny ball game, because he always gets hits and he always gets dirty, said Camas head coach Joe Hallead.
If you cant get to a base standing up, you cant be afraid to dive out and grab it, Welborn said. Nobody wants to get tagged out for not giving the extra effort.
With Welborn, Faulkner and other Papermakers creating havoc on the basepaths, Austin Barr, Logan Grindy and Yinger are getting more pitches to hit.
Its like a revolving door, Yinger said. Im glad [Welborn] is getting an opportunity on varsity because he shows the way to play this game, day in and day out.
Nick Sumstine scored twice Friday, as a pinch runner for Barr. He appeared to have a third run when he leaped over the catcher to get to home plate, but the umpire called him out.
Nick Sumstine is the perfect example of what our teams about, Hallead said. He goes all out for the team.
Camas swept Fort Vancouver in a doubleheader Thursday on solid pitching by Zach Carter, Connor McClellan and Ryan Patterson, and home runs by Grindy and Barr.
When you put all of these nuts and bolts together, the Papermakers are a well-oiled Mean Machine. On Monday, the Seattle Times moved Camas (8-0) up to second in the Class 3A state rankings. All these boys are looking forward to is the next sunny day on the diamond.
Were excited to get back out here Wednesday and keep playing ball, Grindy said. When we come back, its 0-0. This is a tough league, and we need all the wins we can get.