Panthers scrape by Beavers in extra innings

A lucky bounce allowed Washougal to score the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and defeat Woodland 4-3 Monday.

Zach Collins hit a slow rolling grounder in the direction of the first baseman while Kirk Brown ran from second to third. Whether the ball hit a pebble or a patch of grass in the dirt, it took on a life of its own and skipped over the first baseman’s glove. Brown rounded third and headed for home, the right fielder fired the ball to the catcher, but not before Brown slid across the plate as the winning run.

“We were all jumping up and down, and running out on the field to hug Zach. We played a heck of a game,” said starting pitcher Blaine Bea.

Bea worked until there were two outs in the top of the seventh inning. That’s when Woodland dropped a hit in between the second baseman and the outfielders with the tying run on third. Bea then walked his only batter in the game and came out after 90 pitches thrown.

“Blaine was phenomenal,” said head coach Jaycop Collins. “He handled himself exceptionally well, kept his pitches low and the balls in play in the infield.”

Washougal turned to Ryan Krout. The first Beaver he pitched to reached first on a slow rolling grounder to load the bases. Krout struck out the next batter to get the Panthers out of a jam with the score tied at 3-3.

“Ryan finished it out great,” Bea said. “He’s the man for the job right there.”

After Washougal was unable to respond in the bottom of the seventh, extra innings would be needed to determine a winner.

Krout struck out the first batter in the top of the eighth. He also fielded a bunt and fired the ball to first base in time for the second out. Krout then struck out the third batter for a quick three outs.

“Ryan is more of a starter than he is a closer,” Collins said. “For him to pitch like he did is exactly what we needed.”

Nole Thompson drove the baseball over the left fielder’s head and coasted to second base for a lead off double in the bottom of the eighth. He advanced to third on a ground out and tried to score on a squeeze bunt by Brown, but was tagged out at home.

Kaden Corbitt kept the eighth inning alive for Washougal with a two-out infield hit, and Brown moved into scoring position at second base. The stage was set for Zach Collins. The freshman got the ball by the Woodland first baseman and Brown scored the winning run.

“I feel relieved to get that first league win,” said coach Collins. “I’ve watched a lot of these kids grow up and play ball. It’s nice for them to be able to experience a win like this and see where it takes them in the future.”

The Panthers (4-5, 1-3) host Hudson’s Bay Friday and go to Mark Morris Monday, April 18. Both games begin at 4 p.m. After that, Washougal starts the second run through league.

“I’m hoping this win will propel us through league and give us the confidence we have been lacking,” Collins said. “Every team is beatable, these boys just have to believe they can do it.”