Baseball: Crosscutters win wild one, stay alive in state tourney

A one-run victory Monday afternoon kept Olympic Crosscutters in contention at the American Legion A State Tournament at Hanford High School in Richland.

The Crosscutters were slated to play West Kootenay of British Columbia on Tuesday evening (July 30) — results were unavailable at press time — and needing three victories in two days to take the tourney title.

After winning a shootout against University of Spokane in the tournament opener on July 27 (see below), the Crosscutters saw the host Hanford Flames score 13 runs in the first three innings and routed the Crosscutters, 18-3, on July 28.

Hanford, backed by Gannon Mosely’s four RBIs, scored four in the first, three in the second and six in the third. Trenton Indelicato and John Varra each had hits for the Crosscutters in the loss.

Olympic rebounded with a 7-6 win over Mt. Spokane on July 29, scoring twice in the seventh for the come-from-behind win. Olympic tallied two in the second inning, one in the fourth and two in the fifth for a 5-0 lead, but Mt. Spokane rallied for six runs in the sixth inning.

Elisha Dujue had a busy seventh inning for the Crosscutters, doubling home the tying run and scored the eventual winning run on a Connor Reed double in the top of the seventh. And after taking the pitchers’ mound and allowing a leadoff double, Dujue caught a pop bunt, wheeled to second base and doubled that leadoff runner off the bag. He followed up with a swinging strikeout to clinch the game and earn the victory.

Reed had three hits and Parker Nickerson had two in the victory. Varra struck out eight over five innings for the Crosscutters.

Winning big in opener

The Crosscutters scored in six of the game’s seven innings to win their American Legion opener by a football score of 24-13 over University in 90-plus degree heat at Hanford High on July 27.

“Just unbelievable,” Crosscutters head coach Anthony Koeninger said. “A wild west shootout is what it was.”

“And we are playing in the heat down in Richland and the kids are just not used to anything like this. We really had to make sure our guys were hydrated, especially our pitchers and catchers.”

Three huge innings did much of the work for Olympic, as the Crosscutters posted five first-inning runs, six in the fourth to erase a 9-6 deficit and nine more in the sixth to pad a 14-11 advantage.

“We hit around in the first, they came back with two runs and they kind of throttled us for the next two innings,” Koeninger said.

“They jumped out ahead of us and at one point it was 9-6. I told the kids, ‘It’s the third inning and we are only down a few runs, there’s plenty of game left. After that we scored six, two and nine (in the next three innings).”

Every Crosscutters player posted a base hit and the team totaled 24 hits in the contest.

Nathan Seelye had four hits, including a triple and a double, scored four runs and drove in four more for Olympic.

“Nathan was our hitting star for sure,” Koeninger said.

John Vaara had two doubles, scored three runs and brought in two more.

“Big John was swinging the bat, for sure,” Koeninger said.

Elijah Flodstrom had three hits and three RBIs. Zane Glassock had a two-run single and also drove in two more runs on a fielders’ choice and a groundout.

Elisha Dujue earned the win for the Crosscutters, allowing one run on three hits and a walk while striking out two in the final two frames.

Dujue also hit a two-run double.

The Crosscutters primarily played AA opponents this summer due to a lack of A legion teams western Washington. Koeninger thinks those experiences will help at the eight-team state tournament.