Kris Tsinnajinne isn’t going to blow it past anyone. He doesn’t get off the bus looking the part of a pitcher that is going to blow away a lineup, although he does have a glimmering cross dangling from his left earlobe.
But Tsinnajinne doesn’t need a heavy fastball or a devastating slider when he’s got two things: a wild animal two-seamer and a feral competitive streak.
“He has a lot of arm-side run,” Kelso Premier coach Emilio Foden said. “He’s probably like 77 (mph) right now. He doesn’t throw the hardest, but he’s got a lot of movement and he isn’t afraid to compete.”
Tsinnajinnie was marvelous Wednesday night in a 13-3 mercy-rule drubbing of the visiting LCBC Competitive Athletics squad at Rister Stadium.
After Chase Cothren of LCBC lashed a firm single to start the evening, Tsinnajinne just went about missing barrels and bats altogether. That one single was the lone hard hit ball the Kelso senior allowed all day.
Tsinnajinnie went 4-plus innings and allowed just four hits and three runs with four strikeouts and three walks. The three runs all came in the fifth after he left the mound with the bases loaded and no outs and his team 12-0.
“He doesn’t want to lose,” Kelso Premier manager Emilio Foden said of Tsinnajinnie. “He comes out here and puts all of his effort into practice and works his butt off. He’s a gamer, and I hope to find him somewhere to go next year.”
That offensive outburst started early and continued often, beginning with a Seth Velosky walk and Zeke Smith bunt single.
The short game was a point of emphasis for Foden and the KP team. Until the score differential became too great, KP really focused on bunting strikes, having an idea where you want to put it and keeping it fair to put pressure on the defense.
Foden even had KP three-hole hitter, Fisher Wassell, drop down a bunt. To have him bunt, especially in the first inning with a runner already in scoring position, was an obvious indicator of Foden’s goal.
“That’s what we work on in practice,” Foden said. “We do a lot of bunt scrimmages and a lot of bunt defense. It comes all down to execution.”
And Wassell’s bunt was a good one, it moved the runners over for Michael Hause, who took full advantage. On a low and inside fastball from CA starter Jamison Watson, Hause dropped the barrel and launched the pitch well over the head of Chico Hunington in right field before rolling all the way to the corner.
In the big Rister Stadium outfield, it was an easy triple, and KP quickly led 2-0. It was a lead they would never relent.
“He’s a great hitter,” Foden said of Hause. “It’s the second game out of three that he’s hit a double to score runs. He’s kind of underrated.”
CA’s manager, Cam Margaris, wondered if his infield’s defensive miscues were the result of how good his pitching has been this fall. But even in defeat, the LCBC skipper was able to find a silver lining.
“We just kind of made some mistakes within the lines but it was good to not to have to get up at 6 in the morning and drive down (to Portland) and play a doubleheader,” Margaris said.
KP scored a trio of runs in the first inning, four in the second and three in the third, and CA never really had an answer.
Competitive Athletics did manage to load the bases in the fifth inning against a tiring Tsinnajinnie, but they only squeezed one run out of it.
Kelso Premier’s 18U schedule is now complete, but they have a combination squad that is still gearing up for a trip to Arizona in November.
Hilander Dental of LCBC is set to play the Kelso Premier 16U team on Friday at 6 p.m. at Rister Stadium.
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