After a couple of rough outings, Hoquiam got the performance it was looking for out of Zach Elsos as the Grizzlies picked up a 6-2 road win Friday over Elma.
Elsos had struggled in his last two relief appearance and an adjustment to his pitching mechanics made all the difference against the Eagles.
“A few people pointed out that I had my arm angled lower and that I had better accuracy from a higher angle,” he said. “I knew I needed to bounce back after having some not good games, and tonight was the night that I bounced back.”
Elsos benefited from some run support before he had to throw a pitch as the Grizzlies scored two runs in the top of the first.
Hoquiam got its first run of the game when Alex Reyes came around to score after an error by Brady Johnston and picked up another run when Michael Jump singled up the middle to bring home Liam Odell.
Elma head coach Jim Hill said the Eagles can’t afford to make defensive mistakes in close games.
“Our big things is the defensive side of the ball. Our pitchers threw well enough to win today,” he said. “Our guys have to pick up ground balls, throw people out, execute bunt coverages and things like that.”
Hoquiam had some trouble fielding the ball cleanly in the second inning, allowing Elma to get a run back when Brady Shriver scored after an error by Jackson Folkers.
The Eagles then tied the game at 2-2 in the third when Brody Rustemeyer drove in Carter Jacobson.
Elma’s offense stalled out from there as Hoquiam got an RBI single from Folkers to give Hoquiam the 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth.
Elsos said getting the early run support helped him stay focused on the mound.
“It helped a lot. It took a lot of pressure off of me as a pitcher to know that I have my guys hitting the ball and getting me runs on the mound,” he said.
Hoquiam put the game out of reach with a three-run sixth inning. Hoquiam’s Joel Emery scored from third on a wild pitch and Kyle Larsen singled to bring home Camden Templer making the score 5-2.
The Grizzlies added one more insurance run when Reyes scored on another wild pitch to put Hoquiam up by a 6-2 margin.
With neither team picking up an extra-base hit, Hoquiam head coach Steve Jump said aggressive base running was the key to generating runs.
“I thought Alex Reyes was great. I thought Camden was gutsy, and we took a lot of chances at the plate and it worked for us,” he said. “Jackson Folkers did a really good job of getting guys in when they were in scoring position. I thought our base running was superb.”
Jump is still looking to solidify his pitching rotation early in the season and thinks that Elsos could be relied on more often going forward.
“After his last outing, he was a champion today. I loved it,” he said. “I really thought he had control the whole way, and I’m excited for him. He may be that kid who ends up being a starter. Some guys are relievers and some guys are starters. He showed us he can be a starter.”
Montesano 16, Forks 1
Montesano jumped on Forks pitching early, scoring 12 runs in the first three innings en route to a 16-1 mercy-rule victory on Friday at Forks High School.
Monte got out to an early 6-0 lead in the first inning on run-scoring hits from Parker Plato, Evan Bates and Shaydon Farmer.
Forks responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning against Montesano starting pitcher Ben Wills.
But the Bulldogs kept the pedal to the metal, scoring three runs in both the second and third innings followed by a four-run fourth inning to open up a 16-1 lead.
Monte’s offense smacked 16 hits off Forks pitching, led by Plato, who went 4-for-4 with four runs and two RBI.
Wills picked up the win for the Bulldogs, throwing three innings of one-hit baseball, allowing no earned runs with four strikeouts.
Trace Ridgway relieved Wills, allowing one hit in two innings of work.
“We got another really good pitching outing from Ben Wills and Trace Ridgway,” Monte head coach Mike Osgood said. “Both guys worked ahead in counts and didn’t allow a walk.”
In addition to Plato, Monte got multi-hit games from Teegan Zillyett, Bates, Farmer and Cole Daniels.
“Offensively, seven different guys had a base hit. … I’m really pleased with where we are heading into spring break,” Osgood said. “Kids are having fun, working hard and playing really good baseball.”
Toledo 9, Elma 3
Elma fell behind by four runs in the first inning and never recovered in a 9-3 loss to Toledo on March 26 at Toledo High School.
Toledo loaded the bases right away against Elma starter Justin Elliott before scoring runs on two singles and a wild pitch for a 4-0 first inning lead.
The Indians tacked on a run in each of the second and third innings before blowing the game open with a three-run fifth.
Down 9-0, Elma scored a run in the sixth off a Trent Richardson sacrifice fly that chased AJ Whipple across the plate.
The Eagles scored a pair of runs in the seventh on a Caleb Knutson fielder’s choice followed by an Indians error on a hard-hit ground ball off the bat of Brady Shriver.
Shriver, Raiden Aho and Brody Rustemeyer each had a pair of hits for Elma, with Rustemeyer knocking the Eagles’ only extra-base hit of the contest with a leadoff double to left in the top of the seventh.
Elliott took the loss for Elma, allowing four earned runs on three hits and a walk in an inning pitched.
Elma committed three errors in the contest, attributing to Toledo’s seven unearned runs.
“Too many free passes pitching tonight and critical errors allowed (Toledo) to have big innings,” Elma coach Hill said. “We put the ball in play and we got on base, but we stranded 15 or 16 runners. … We’ve got to put the ball in play with runners on.”