Camas baseball carves road to state

Bi-district champion Papermakers begin state Saturday, in Centralia

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Kurt Yinger rewrote the book on Papermaker baseball Thursday.

Three goals accomplished. Two more left to grab.

The Papermakers did two things Monday no other Camas High School baseball team has done before. They captured their first 3A bi-district title and their 23rd victory of the season.

Number-one ranked Camas raked No. 3 Enumclaw 11-3 in the championship game Monday, at Auburn Mountain View High School.

Jeremy Faulkner gave the Papermakers the lead with a 3-run home run, Logan Grindy put the game out of reach with a grand slam and Austin Barr added a 2-run round tripper for his third home run of the tournament.

“[Barr] has been patient at the plate, but when the opportunity presents itself, he is doing some damage,” said head coach Joe Hallead. “He’s only a junior, but he’s showing the presence of a veteran.”

Hallead was thrilled to see Faulkner and Grindy get back on track after slipping a bit at the plate.

“It’s so great to see your seniors get rewarded for all their hard work,” he said.

Zach Carter pitched four strong innings to earn his eighth victory of the season. Nate Lauritzen pitched three scoreless innings of relief to shut the door.

Camas smashed Auburn Mountain View 12-0 Saturday, in the semifinals in Auburn.

Barr delivered a 3-run home run, and Justin Webb added a double and 4 RBI. Carter, Connor McClellan and David Patterson combined to pitch the shut out.

The Papermakers kicked off bi-districts Thursday, with a 5-1 victory over Capital at Propstra Park in Vancouver.

Barr launched a home run in the first inning, and Alex Hows drove in four runs on two doubles to put the game out of reach.

“When I saw I was hitting sixth, I felt I had some responsibility to come through for the team and I did,” Hows said. “That first hit felt amazing. I worked the count in my favor, got a fastball, extended my arms and took a hack at it. Both of those hits felt great coming off the bat.”

Hallead said Hows’ success in limited playing time defines the success of the Papermakers.

“What makes this so fun is when a guy who has half of the plate appearances as the others on the team steps up there and drives in four runs,” Hallead said. “It’s something he’s never going to forget, and it’s something I’m never going to forget about Alex Hows.”

Ace pitcher Kurt Yinger took care of the rest. He limited Capital to a run on two hits, while racking up seven strikeouts. Yinger also set new school records for most victories (9) and strikeouts (82) in a season and career wins (19) and strikeouts (182).

“Kurt has already carved his face on the Mount Rushmore of Camas pitching,” Hallead said.

The league, district and bi-district titles are in the bag. The next step for Camas baseball (23-0) is to win the first two games of the state tournament Saturday, in Centralia.

A state championship is the final goal to a perfect season for these Papermakers.