Justin Webb dreamed of this moment his whole life.
The Papermaker stepped up to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning during Thursday’s district championship game at Propstra Park. The game with Mountain View was tied 2-2, and the winning run for Camas was on third base.
“I was definitely looking to end the game right there,” Webb said. “I wanted to put the team on my back, and get a hit.”
Webb saw a pitch he liked and smacked it into the ground. The ball took some high bounces on the grass, and Webb was off to the races. The shortstop scooped up the ball and fired it to first, but Webb was too fast for him. In the blink of an eye, the junior beat out the throw that won Camas the district title.
“Once I knew I was in there, my heart stopped,” Webb said. “I knew we had just won the game.”
Kurt Yinger got the magic started for the Papermakers with a double down the left field line to lead off the bottom of the seventh.
“I got that one past the third baseman, and I’m so glad that I did,” he said. “To be in scoring position with no outs, I knew somebody was going to drive me in like they have done all season.”
A deep fly ball to right field by Conner King moved Yinger to third base with two outs. After fouling off some tough pitches, Nick Sumstine drew a walk and stole second base to set the table for Webb. Had it not been for that steal, Sumstine could have been an easy out at second on the hit by Webb.
“We had to be warriors today and fight to the end,” Webb said. “We know Mountain View wanted revenge. They were not looking to lose three-in-a-row.”
Yinger and Mountain View pitcher Zach Thorsen had a memorable duel on the mound. Yinger limited the Thunder to two runs on seven hits, while gaining seven strikeouts. He also doubled home the first run for Camas to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth. Yinger came around to score on a wild pitch to give the Papermakers a 2-1 lead.
The score stayed that way until the Thunder tied the game back up in the sixth inning on a home run. Webb had a beat on the ball, but it slipped out of the webbing of his glove and landed on the other side of the fence.
Yinger said he would have gone back out and pitched the eighth. Thanks to Webb, he didn’t have to.
“It wasn’t his day early on, but I thought he was going to do something special,” Yinger said. “He did too, and he came through in the end.”
The 20-0 Papermakers begin the bi-district tournament Wednesday, at Propstra Park. First pitch is at 5 p.m. Camas is one win away from state.
“It’s awesome being a part of an undefeated program like this,” said senior shortstop Logan Grindy. “It just makes it more fun to come out every day and play baseball.”
Webb will never forget having the opportunity to live his dream. That game-winning base hit will rewind in his mind for the rest of his life.
“It’s the biggest highlight of my baseball career,” he said, before adding. “For now.”