One year ago, Lower Columbia College pitcher Justin Solt came out of the bullpen to notch the final out as the Red Devils won their first NWAC Baseball Championship crown under head coach Eric Lane.
Flash ahead one year, and Solt allowed a hit, two walks and struck out three through seven innings as the Red Devils beat Everett 2-0 in the title game of the NWAC Baseball Championships on Monday at David Story Field.
LCC (39-9) reached the title game after winning the first championship game 10-2 over Everett, also on Monday. The win gave LCC its 14th conference title, the second straight for Lane, and made Everett the loser in three of the last four championship games. LCC is also the conference’s first three-peat since the Red Devils did it last during the 1995-96-97 seasons.
In the fourth inning, LCC took a 1-0 lead when Zach Threlfall singled home Colin Floyd. The Devils’ doubled their advantage in the sixth inning when Drew Barlow reached on a fielder’s choice which scored Chase Matheny.
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Everett had two chances to score, but came up empty in each instance. In the third, Marcus McCannel singled and later we nt to third on a balk, but was left stranded. In the ninth, Charlie Larson milked a one-out walk, and moved to third on a double from Sam Linscott, but was left stranded when a double play ended the game.
LCC had seven hits. Threlfall was 2-4 with a double and an RBI, Matheny was 2-4 with a double, DeShawn Johnson was 2-5, Floyd added a hit, and Barlow had an RBI.
Rance Pittman came out of the bullpen to earn the save, allowing two hits and striking out one in two innings.
In the first championship game, the Red Devils broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the third inning. Johnson slapped a double which scored Trevor Paro, and Floyd followed with a two-bagger which plated Matheny and Johnson.
The Devils added a run in the fifth when Barlow slapped an RBI single which scored Floyd, and scored twice in the sixth when Johnson singles to score Paro, and Matheny hit into a fielder’s choice which plated Noah Andrews. LCC added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh when Zach Threlfall scored on a Johnson double, and Andrews singled home Johnson.
LCC finished with 14 hits. Johnson was 4-5 with three doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored, Barlow was 2-4 with two RBIs, and Jamison was 2-5 with a double. Paro and Matheny each had two hits and two runs scored, Floyd had a double and two RBIs, and Hurst added an RBI.
Mitch Lines allowed two earned runs on four hits, three walks and struck out two through six innings, and Alex Brady allowed three hits and struck out five in three relief innings.
Johnson was also named tournament MVP. Joining him on the All-Tournament Team are LCC catcher Threlfall, infielders Jamison, Barlow and Paro, outfielder Matheny, and pitchers Lines and Solt.
In addition, Andrews, Lines and Floyd were placed on the all-NWAC second-team.
Dawson Day of Mount Hood was selected the conference MVP, Tacoma’s Logan Gerling was selected the ABCA Pitcher of the Year, and Columbia Basin’s Steve Schultz was tabbed the ABCA Assistant Coach of the Year.