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Lower Columbia claims 10th Baseball Title

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By Ben Zimmerman / The Daily News | Photos by Tracy Swisher
Posted: Monday, May 31, 2010 11:22 pm | Source Article

It was a tug of war seemingly designed to tempt fate and torture the coaching staff.

While its ace sizzled, Lower Columbia's offense slept.

Between a morning-session loss and the winner-take-all title game it necessitated, Red Devils skipper Kelly Smith and his long-time consigliere, pitching coach Rob Hippi, sat in lounge chairs on the VIP section lawn and lamented the prospect of another agonizing second-place finish in an NWAACC baseball tournament.

Together, they'd been through six as they waited to take on Lane on Monday night.

"Kelly said to me, ‘What did we do to deserve this?'" Hippi said. "We were ready for the possibility of another. The kids weren't."

 
  Coach of the Year Kelly Smith with tournament MVP Alex Phillips

Rallies in the third and fifth innings massaged away most of the tension and [Alex] Phillips did the rest. The University of Kentucky-bound sophomore left-hander pitched eight shutout innings and the Red Devils put the baseball program in the record books with a 6-0 victory over the Titans in the championship game.

Lower Columbia (40-5) won its 10th tournament title, the most in NWAACC history, and delivered to Smith his fifth in 11 tries. When Levi Dean coaxed a grounder to second baseman Eric Lane for the final out of the tournament, the Devils dogpiled on the infield they'd spent the entire tourney raking, chalking and tarping - and celebrated the vindication of eight months of labor in the classroom, in the weight room and on the diamond.

"We work so hard," said sophomore Ben Grubb, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs in the title game, and led the tournament in batting average and RBIs. "The only thing that makes it all worth it is the win, winning the whole thing."

"Last year, these kids weren't ready," Smith added. "But they're a special group. They had no issues away from the field. They were

always early, because they know better. They got up at 6:30 a.m. every day for a cranky coach who is always unhappy in the morning. This isn't about the coaches. It's about the players. It is so rewarding for me to watch them celebrate. I'm so happy that they finally get to have a good feeling."

The tone for a dominant all-around showing in the title game was set by Phillips, who was named the MVP of the tournament and capped a brilliant season with one of the finer games of his LCC career. The Devils couldn't capitalize on scoring opportunities in the first or second, but Phillips gave his offense plenty of leeway.

He sliced through the first six batters he faced on just 21 pitches.

"Philly has been our horse all year long," said sophomore catcher Aaron Smothers. "Any game he starts, you can almost chalk it up as a win, unless we blow it and don't score. The biggest thing in this game was the way he pitched in the first three innings. He just completely dominated their lineup. We just could tell they weren't going to touch him."

Still, when Ben McQuown got the scoring started, it was a tension-breaker. After Chris Pierce beat out an infield single to short to open the top of the third, McQuown hit a bullet into the right-center gap.

Pierce was running on the pitch and scored easily. McQuown darted into third for a stand-up triple.

It was the first Red Devil run in 12 innings, counting the nine scoreless panels that accumulated in a shutout loss to Bellevue earlier in the day.

"We knew we were going to get a run eventually," Smothers said.

Grubb's sacrifice fly one batter later scored McQuown to give LCC and Phillips a 2-0 lead. He kept it there, striking out four of the next seven Titans he faced, then got another dose of support in the fifth. Grubb had a two-run single and Smothers made it 5-0 with a two-out base hit.

"Honestly, that was great, but you can't relax," said Phillips. "You've gotta keep grinding. The moment you relax is the moment you give it up."

Phillips faced one legitimate crisis on Monday. It came in the bottom of the sixth, when back-to-back singles and a one-out walk - his only free pass of the night - loaded the bases with Titans.

After a visit from Hippi, Phillips prepared to face Lane's 3-hole hitter, Kyle Hoover.

"It was definitely intense," Phillips said. "I knew I had a job to do. I didn't make the moment too big."

Phillips got ahead of Hoover 0-2, threw a ball, then a curveball that the Titans slugger fouled off. Hoover grounded Phillips' next offering to Lane at second, and he flipped to shortstop Brent Graham to start an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play.

Graham was phenomenal in the title game. The 6-4-3 double play he initiated in the bottom of the fourth snuffed a Lane threat and was one of seven assists in the game. He also made a diving catch for the first out of that inning.

"You can always count on (Lane and Graham) to make the tough play," said Phillips.

Phillips pitched around a pair of baserunners in the bottom of the seventh and stranded another in the eighth, when he ended it by whiffing Lane pinch-hitter Michael Akers on an 84 mile-per-hour fastball, his final pitch as a Red Devil.

Phillips earned his second win of the tournament by scattering six hits with seven strikeouts. He wanted to pitch the ninth, but Hippi said he thought his ace was tiring, and Phillips didn't mind turning things over to Dean.

"Everything went right tonight," Phillips said. "Everything was working. I was able to locate everything. And I'm glad my buddy Levi came in."

"What you saw tonight from Alex was what you saw all year," added Hippi. "He always wants the ball, then he goes out and just pounds the strike zone with all three of his pitches. Coming into this year, it wasn't about Alex. It was all about Levi Dean, Tim Culligan and Jeff Ames. But pretty soon, it became Alex Phillips."

LCC scratched across a final insurance run in the ninth when Lane singled, stole second and sprinted home on Grubb's single to center.

That's when Smith started to relax.

A little.

"We saved our bullets, we clutched up, we started hitting again and we had two big innings," said Smith, who improved to 566-141 and picked up his first conference title since 2005. "But I prefer the six runs to the five."

Championship Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Lower Columbia
0
0
2
0
3
0
0
0
1
6
9
0
Lane
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
6
3

Game stats & play-by-play
WP- Phillips (2-0) 7Ks     LP- (0-1) 2Ks
2 or more hits: LCC: Grubb 3-4, McQuown 2-4; Lane: Sanchez 2-3
Notes: Lower Columbia wins its 10th NWAACC Baseball Championship and ends its season with a 40-5 record along with a West Region title. Lane ends its season with a runner-up conference finish and a 33-17 record.

All-Tournament Team
MVP: Alex Phillips, Pitcher, Lower Columbia
Catcher: Tyler Cox, Bellevue & Joe Offer, Lane
Infield: Trent Oleszczuk, Chemeketa; Kyle Hoover, Lane; Brent Graham, Lower Columbia; Derek Webb, Lower Columbia
Outfield: Andy Lyon, Edmonds; Chris Pierce, Lower Columbia; Jimmy Sanchez, Lane; Ben McQuown, Lower Columbia
Pitcher: Seth Howe, Bellevue; Tim Culligan, Lower Columbia; Scott Allred, Lane; Jake Collier, Bellevue
Relief Pitcher: Nick Phillips, Lane
DH: Ben Grubb, Lower Columbia
Utility: Ian Parmley, Bellevue


Lane 8, Bellevue 6
By Ben Zimmerman / The Daily News
Posted: Monday, May 31, 2010 11:22 pm | Source Article

Lane scored last in a seesaw battle to eliminate the defending champions and advance to the title game.

Kyle Hoover delivered the game-winning hit for the Titans, sending a soft single up the middle past a drawn-in Bulldogs infield to drive Jimmy Sanchez home from third with one out in the bottom of the eighth.

That broke a 6-6 tie. Hoover scored the eighth Lane run when Bellevue (32-20) committed a throwing error following pinch-hitter Chance Cornish's infield single.

Nick Phillips pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief to earn the win for the Titans, who had 13 hits in the victory.

Bellevue took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, but Lane scored six unanswered runs, pulling ahead 6-3 with a three-spot in the fifth. The ‘Dogs scored twice in the fifth and tied it with another run in the top of the eighth.

Bulldog Blake Fulghum was the hard-luck losing pitcher, allowing just three hits in four innings. Both of the runs he allowed were unearned; Bellevue committed four errors.

Game 14 Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Bellevue 3  0  0  2  0
1
 0
6
8
4
Lane 2
1
 3  0  0
2
 X
8
13
1

Game stats & play-by-play
WP- Phillips (1-0) 1K     LP- Fulghum (1-0) 0K
2 or more hits: Lane: Hoover 2-5, Offer 2-5, Conner 2-4, Shumacher 2-4; BC: Urquhart 2-4, Burnett 2-3
Notes: Lane advances to taks on Lower Columbia in the Championship game at 6:30pm. Bellevue ends its season with a 32-20 record and a third place NWAACC finish.


Bellevue 4, Lower Columbia 0
By Ben Zimmerman / The Daily News
Posted: Monday, May 31, 2010 11:22 pm | Source Article

Jake Collier pitched a four-hit shutout, and the Bulldogs did all of their scoring in the final two innings to snap LCC's 15-game winning streak and hand the Devils their first tournament loss.

The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 50 minutes by rain.

Bellevue scored twice in the top of the eighth against LCC reliever Garrett Tygerson, the third of six pitchers used by the Devils in the game. Ian McKay singled with one out, stole second and scored on Tyler Cox's single. Todd Griffiths replaced Tygerson, walked a batter, then surrendered an RBI single to Bellevue's Dan Schmidt.

The 'Dogs added a pair of unearned runs in the top of the ninth, scoring both on one play as the Devils committed two errors.

Collier allowed only six baserunners and coaxed 19 ground-ball outs. He was matched, shutout inning for shutout inning, through the first seven innings by LCC pitchers Cody Garner, Drew Pettit and Tygerson.

Garner, normally the Devils' closer, made his first career start had four strikeouts in three scoreless innings. LCC left fielder Aaron Grenz helped Garner out in the third by throwing a Bellevue runner out at the plate following a base hit.

Pettit tight-roped past trouble in the fourth and fifth innings. After the Castle Rock product stranded a baserunner at third to end the fourth, he was bailed out of a tense fifth by center fielder Chris Pierce. With two outs and a Bellevue runner at second, the Kalama grad bolted across the outfield and made a sliding, back-handed catch to rob Ian McKay of an extra-base hit.

The Devils missed a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Derrick Webb doubled with one out and took third on Taylor Schenck's sacrifice bunt, but Collier used a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.

LCC catcher Ben Grubb threw out a pair of would-be base-stealers.

Game 13  Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Bellevue
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
2
4
12
0
Lower Columbia
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
4
2

Game stats & play-by-play
WP- Collier (1-0) CG 3Ks  LP- Tygerson (0-1) 5Ks
HR- none
2 or more hits- BC: Cox 4-4, Parmley 3-4, McKay 2-5, Schmitt 2-4


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Game 12  Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Lane
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
2
6
4
Chemeketa
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
2
0

Game recap (Longview Daily News)
Games stats & play-by-play

WP- Kohler (1-0) 7Ks    LP- Boyd (0-1) 4Ks
HR- CHCC: Fahey (solo 3rd)
2 or more hits: Lane: Offer 3-4; CHCC: Fahey 2-3 (HR)
Notes: Lane will play the winner of gm13, Lower Columbia vs Bellevue, on Monday at 1:05 pm. Chemeketa ends its 2010 campaign with a record of 34-12 and a Southern Region title.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Game 11  Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Chemeketa
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
2
5
0
Lower Columbia
0
2
1
0
1
4
0
0
X
8
14
0

Game recap (Longview Daily News)
Game stats & play-by-play
WP- Culligan (1-0) 7Ks LP- GhostDog (0-1) 0K
HR - LCC: Pierce (2-run HR in 6th)
2 or more hits: LCC: Pierce 3-5, Grubb 3-4, Webb 2-4, Grenz 2-3; CHCC: Oleszczuk 2-4
Notes: Lower Columbia is the tournament's only remaining one-loss team and will take on Bellevue Sunday at approximately 8:15 pm. Chemeketa will face Southern Region rival Lane in an elimination game Sunday at 5:40 pm.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Game 10  Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Bellevue
0
3
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
5
9
3
Edmonds
0
0
1
0
2
0
0
0
0
3
12
3

Game recap (Longview Daily News)
Game stats & play-by-play
5
WP- Parmley (1-0) CG 5Ks LP- Haight (0-1) 4K
HR: Niland (3-run HR 2nd), Edwards (solo 4th)
2 or more hits: BC: Cox 2-4, Edwards 2-4, EDCC: Phillips 4-5, Lyon 3-5, Stanford 2-3
Notes: Bellevue advances to play the winner of Lower Columbia vs. Chemeketa Sunday at 7:35pm. Edmonds ends its season as the North Region Champion with a 33-14 record.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Game 9  Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Treasure Valley
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
1
8
0
Lane
0
0
1
3
2
0
0
0
X
6
8
1
Game recap (Longview Daily News)
Game stats & play-by-play
WP- Allred (1-0) 2Ks   LP- Jessup (0-1) 4Ks   SV- Nicholson (1) 3Ks
HR- Berger (3-run HR 4th)
2 or more hits: Lane: Conner 2-4, Berger 2-3 TVCC: Miller 2-4
Notes: Lane will advance to play the loser of Lower Columbia vs. Chemeketa on Sunday at 4:35 pm. Treasure Valley ends its season with a 34-13 record.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Game 8  Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Lower Columbia
0
0
0
3
0
0
0
0
3
6
6
1
Bellevue
2
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
3
7
1

Game recap (Longview Daily News)
Game stats and play-by-play

WP - Griffiths (1-0) 1K   LP- Swannack (0-1) CG, 10Ks
HR - BC: Cox (2 run HR 1st), Johnson (solo HR 6th)
2 or more hits: LCC: Grubb 2-4; BC: Johnson 2-4, Patterson 2-4
Notes: Lower Columbia will take on Chemeketa Sunday at 2:05 pm. Bellevue will face Edmonds in an elimination match in the one loss side of the bracket Sunday at 11:35 am.

Refresh page


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Game 7 Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Treasure Valley
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
2
8
4
Chemeketa
2
0
0
0
0
4
1
2
X
10
11
0

Game recap (Longview Daily News)
Game stats & play-by-play

WP- Wilson (1-0) 7Ks     LP- Shoemaker (0-1) 7Ks
2 or more hits: ChCC: Oleszczuk 4-5, Royal 2-5, Setere 2-5; TVCC: Douglass 2-3, Comer 2-5
Notes: Chemeketa will take on Lower Columbia Sunday at 2:05 pm. Treasure Valley will face Lane in an elimination game on the one loss side of the bracket Sunday at 9:05 am.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Game 6 Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Lane
0
1
1
3
0
0
0
0
0
5
6
0
Columbia Basin
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
4
3

Game recap (Longview Daily News)
Game stats & play-by-play

WP- Reed (1-0) 9Ks   LP- Shepherd (0-1) 4Ks   SV- Phillips (1) 2Ks
2 or more hits: none
Notes: Lane advances to play Treasure Valley in the one loss side of the bracket on Sunday at 11:05 am. Columbia Basin concludes its season with a 33-15 record and an Eastern Region title.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Game 5 Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Edmonds
2
1
0
1
0
0
0
1
3
8
10
0
Tacoma
1
0
0
1
0
2
0
0
0
4
9
2

Game recap (Longview Daily News)
Game stats & play-by-play

WP- Roy (1-0) 5Ks  LP- Olson (0-1) 6Ks
HR- TCC: Johnson
2 or more hits: EDCC: Wang 2-3, Lyon 4-5; TCC: Williams 2-3, Johnson 2-3, Scott 2-4
Notes: Edmonds advances in the one-loss bracket to play Bellevue on Sunday at 11:35 am. Tacoma ends its season with a 24-17 record and a second place finish in the West Region.


Thursday, May 26, 2010

Game 1 - Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Lane
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
8
2
Lower Columbia
2
2
1
0
0
0
0
2
X
7
11
0

Game Recap (Longview Daily News)
Game stats & play by play

WP- Phillips (1-0) 8Ks  LP- Orr (0-1) 6Ks  SV- Dean (1) 1K
HR- LCC: 2-run homer by Ben McQuown 8th inning
2 or more hits: Lane: Hoover 2-4, Offer 2-4, Sanchez 2-4; LCC: Pierce 2-5, McQuown 2-4 (HR), Garner 2-4
Notes: Lower Columbia will take on Bellevue Friday at 7:35 pm while Lane will face Columbia Basin Friday at 12:35 pm.


Thursday, May 26, 2010

Game 3 - Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Columbia Basin
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
5
0
Bellevue
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
X
1
5
0

Game recap (Tri-City Herald)
Game stats & play by play
WP- Howe (1-0) CG, 12Ks  LP- Van Gaver (0-1) CG, 9Ks
Two or more hits: CBC: Williams 2-3
Notes: Lower Columbia will take on Bellevue Friday at 7:35 pm while Lane will face Columbia Basin Friday at 12:35 pm.


Thursday, May 26, 2010

Game 4 - Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Edmonds
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
1
6
0
Treasure Valley
1
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
X
3
4
1

Game Recap (Longview Daily News)
Game stats & play by play

WP- Allen (1-0) CG, 7Ks     LP- Bean (0-1) CG, 4Ks
Two or more hits: none
Notes: Treasure Valley advances in the winner's bracket to play Chemeketa Friday at 4:35pm. Edmonds will take on Tacoma in the one loss side of the bracket Friday at 9:35 am.


Thursday, May 26, 2010

Game 2 Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8 9 10 11 12 13
R
H
E
Tacoma
0
0
3
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
4
8
1
Chemeketa
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
5
13
1

Game Recap (Longview Daily News)
Game stats & play by play
WP
- Boyd (1-0) 3Ks    LP- Lidyard (0-1) 7Ks
Two or more hits: TCC: Olson 5-5, Briley 3-6; CHCC: Lowe 3-6, Mascolo 2-6, Kincannon 2-4, Bell 2-6
Notes: Chemeketa advances in the winner's bracket to play Treasure Valley Friday at 4:35 pm. Tacoma will take on Edmonds in the one loss side of the bracket Friday at 9:35 pm.


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