As Austin Barr rounded the bases after hitting a home run in the first inning, it felt like it was going to be a better day for the Camas baseball team Friday.
But then Mountain View scored four runs in the bottom of the first to put the Papermakers in another hole they could not dig themselves out of. On Thursday, the Thunder shocked the Papermakers with a 10-0 victory on the Camas field. On Friday, they defeated the Papermakers 7-2 on their home field to capture the league championship.
“It definitely hurts. You get that choked up feeling in your throat after two tough losses,” Barr said. “The important thing to remember is, we’re not done yet. As much as this hurts right now, we can get another shot at Mountain View if we come back and play a great game on Wednesday. That’s what we want.”
Camas (12-5) has already locked up a spot in the bi-district tournament. This week is about redemption and playing for a higher seed in the district tournament. On Wednesday at Propstra Park, the Papermakers will play in the semifinal game at 4 p.m. If they win, they get another crack at Mountain View in the championship game Thursday at 4 p.m.
“Now we know what it feels like to be Mountain View last year after we beat them,” said Camas head coach Joe Hallead. “That’s a veteran ball club over there. Our guys want to get back to that level. I can’t wait to get on this playoff road and show these teams what we’re made of. That’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Barr never expected to see that baseball he hit out of the park in the first inning Friday, but Hallead gave it back to him after the game with a special message. It was Barr’s 100th hit in his Camas career.
Barr added a single in the game to push his career total to 101. He has 13 more hits than any other Papermaker who played baseball. He passed former all-time leader Logan Grindy’s 88 hits at the beginning of the season. But of all the hits Barr could have gotten for number 100, a home run is at the top of the list.
“This feels like the first of many culminations of my career here,” Barr said. “A hundred hits is humbling. I am so thankful coach Hallead gave me the opportunity to contribute to this program since I was a freshman.”
Barr squeezes the baseball in his hands and feels the weight of its impact. As he rotates the ball in his hand, it unlocks memories from chasing championships on the baseball diamonds with his best friends.
“It hits me that we only have one more shot at this. I don’t want it to be over,” Barr said. “We didn’t play our best baseball these last two days, but we know it’s there. It’s all about bringing it out at the right time.”