River Dogs team earns spot in quarterfinals
Taking advantage of opponents’ errors, the Columbia Basin River Dogs’ Blue team turned a pitchers’ duel into a blowout en route to a 5-0 victory over Vancouver (Wash.) Prime Time at the Babe Ruth World Series Tuesday.
The victory allowed the Columbia Basin River Dogs’ Blue squad, playing the tourney under the moniker of Moses Lake River Dogs, to qualify for the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Quincy’s Kade Schutzmann is an outfielder for the team, which went 3-1 in round-robin play at the Ephrata-based tourney.
Against Vancouver, the River Dogs went scoreless for five innings, before exploding for a five-spot in the sixth. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Cody Alvarado sent a grounder past the pitcher. Vancouver second baseman Taryn Yarnell bobbled the ball and then hesitated on where to throw, allowing Dalton Kentner to score the first run of the game.
Dominic Signorelli hit a sac fly for the first out, scoring Jeff Sonneman from third. After Evan McLean was intentionally walked, Caleb Juarez struck out looking, which brought Seth Alvarado to the plate. A wild pitch scored Emmitt Tatum, leaving matters 3-0 for the River Dogs.
Seth Alvarado walked and Schutzmann went in as a pinch-runner. The next batter, Josh Williams unleashed a two-run single to right field, bringing Schutzmann to third and leaving the score 5-0.
At that point, Vancouver starting pitcher Dillon Hamilton surpassed the 105-pitch limit for Babe Ruth games, having thrown 70 in the first five innings and 37 alone in the sixth. Williams was Hamilton’s last batter and he moved over to second base, where he made the last out on a Dax Lindgren pop-up, leaving Schutzmann stranded at third.
Sonneman, the third pitcher the River Dogs used in the shutout, after starter Cameron Cerrillo and reliever Isaac Baker, tossed a 1-2-3 top of the seventh to seal the deal for the River Dogs, who earned a No. 2 seed in the tournament’s National Pool.
Prior to the win against the Vancouver squad, the North Washington State champion River Dogs lost to Mid-County (Texas) 4-2 on the tournament’s Opening Day Aug. 5. Mid-County went on to qualify to the quarterfinals as the National Pool’s top seed.
The River Dogs avenged that loss with three straight wins, including a 7-4 win over Tucson (Ariz.) Aug. 6, a 10-0 pounding of Blue Lick (Ky.) Aug. 7, and the win over Vancouver.
Just as impressive as the throttling of Blue Lick was the comeback win against Tucson, which started ahead of the River Dogs 3-0 until the bottom of the third inning, when Signorelli singled into centerfield with the bases loaded, scoring Kentner and A.J. Pruneda.
In the botom of the fourth, the River Dogs loaded the bases again after an error by the Tucson first baseman.
Kentner singled into left field, scoring two runs and giving the River Dogs their first lead of the game. And they weren’t done. Pruneda bunted to advance the runners to second and third, Tatum grounded out to second, scoring one run, and Cody Alvarado singled to center, leaving the score 6-3 for the locals.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Williams doubled to centerfield, scoring Juarez. A lone Tucson run in the top of the seventh could not make up the difference and Moses Lake had its first win of the tournament, with Kentner getting the last out.
Next up for the Moses Lake River Dogs is their quarterfinal match against the third seed in the American Pool, Thursday at 5 p.m. The winner plays the American Pool’s top seed in the semifinals Friday at 5 p.m. Winner of that game advances to the championship Saturday at 1 p.m. at Johnson-O’Brien stadium.
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org