It was one big inning in each game that did the trick.
Kalama swept Toutle Lake in their Central 2B League twinbill which was technically two home games for the Chinooks but played in Toutle due to weather. Kalama won 7-0 in the opener and 8-2 in the finale.
Kalama led 1-0 before a sixth-inning rally solidified the first result, and then pushed five runs across in the fifth inning of the nightcap.
Tommy Brandenburg was 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run while tossing three innings of shutout ball with five strikeouts in the first matchup. Noah Imboden threw the final four innings, striking out five. Each pitcher allowed just one hit. Brennon Vance, Chase Staup and Shayden Jones each recorded two hits.
“We didn’t get the bats going early and often like we normally do,” Kalama coach Brandon Walker said. “In a weird way I kind of expected that to be the case. We had some guys gone for an extended period of time and they didn’t pick up a baseball. It’s hard when you have that long layoff, when you’re struggling that might be a good thing but we were hitting our stride offensively.”
Ridge Moss and Fisher Wassell recorded hits for the Ducks.
The finale was more dramatic. It started with a fan being ejected after a pitch was hit foul off the hands of a TL hitter. The Ducks had the bases loaded on another play, and a pop fly landed just foul, though other fans didn’t see it that way and emotions ran high for the remainder of the day.
The Ducks out-hit the Chinooks heading into the fifth frame, with Moss, Wassell and Jackson Cox each getting on base twice.
Moss also had allowed just two runs in the first four innings, plus struck out four, but a few timely hits, three errors, and opportunistic baserunner blew the game wide open.
Brennon Vance went from first to home to start the rally, swiping second but then advancing on after the throw dribbled into the outfield. Chase Staup scored on a Double hit by Jones, and both Max Ross and Jackson Hull drove in runs on hard-hit balls to center field.
Ducks coach Jerry Johnson said he was proud of his team, going toe-to-toe with a final four finisher from last year.
“Kalama is a heck of a good team and for us to hang with them for as young and green as we are, I think that shows we’re making some growth, some progress,” Johnson said. “That was a positive we emphasized to these guys. It’s a game of mistakes and failure, often times, and if you can can limit that, at the end of the day we’re going to be satisfied.”
Kalama (10-2, 6-1) sits in first place of the league standings, while the Ducks (1-8, 1-6) are swimming along.
Toutle Lake travels to Toledo for a doubleheader on Saturday, while the Chinooks travel to play Wahkiakum twice in Cathlamet on Friday.