What a difference a year makes for the Washougal High School baseball team.
The Panthers could not win a league game in 2010. On Saturday, they sunk their teeth into two league victories over Woodland on the same day.
The outcome of the second game is one Washougal ballplayers, coaches and parents are going to be talking about for years to come.
The Beavers scored six runs in the top of the seventh inning to grab a 9-7 advantage with three outs to go. The first two Panthers struck out in the bottom of that last inning, before Ryan Erdwins roped a double into left field.
“We had two outs and needed to get something started,” Erdwins said. “I got a good pitch I could handle, and put it in the left corner. ‘Second, second, second’ is all I was thinking about as I rounded first base.”
The two-out magic continued, as Erdwins stole third base and Alec Fuller drew a walk. The tying and winning runs were on base when Jesse Stull stepped up to the plate a ripped a game-winning 2-run double into left center to give Washougal a satisfying 10-9 victory.
“As soon as I saw Alec rounding third, everything was in slow motion,” Erdwins said.
“He hauled it all the way from first to home. That’s just good base running,” Stull said. “Once Alec scored, pretty much everybody ran out on the field and tackled me. It was the greatest feeling ever.”
Head coach Chris Brown watched the celebration unfold with tears in his eyes.
“We only had nine guys for this game who were just warriors,” he said. “Sure, we made some mistakes but you never give up. And with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, we strung some hits together and we won.”
Washougal clobbered Woodland 12-1 in the first game of the doubleheader on 15 hits. Kevin Monsrud racked up six strikeouts in six innings pitched, and held the Beavers to a run on three hits.
Erdwins went 4-for-5 at the plate with two doubles. Stull finished 3-for-4. Fuller and Derek Engler each delivered two hits. Other hits came from Keith Barnett, Derek Devlin, Monsrud and Tyler Purkeypyle.
“To be 2-0 starting out league is big for us,” Brown said. “It’s been a tough road, but the guys have kept faith in me and I’ve kept faith in them. It’s going to pay off, it just takes time.”
Washougal challenges Mark Morris today, in Longview. First pitch is at 4:30 p.m. The Panthers also have a doubleheader at R.A. Long Friday.
“Hopefully, this sparks a fire,” Stull said. “If this doesn’t get everyone fired up, I don’t know what will.”
“We know it’s not what you do in one game, but what you do for an entire season,” Erdwins said. “We want to blaze a trail.”