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White River in race for No. 1 spot | Baseball

Cole Johnson looks to avoid a tag as he slides safely into third base during White River’s April 18 victory over Franklin Pierce.  - Kevin Hanson, Courier-Herald
Cole Johnson looks to avoid a tag as he slides safely into third base during White River’s April 18 victory over Franklin Pierce.
— image credit: Kevin Hanson, Courier-Herald

After splitting a pair of important South Puget Sound League 2A games against Franklin Pierce last week, the White River Hornets ventured into nonleague territory Saturday and slipped past the Hazen Highlanders 3-2.

The three decisions improved White River’s overall record to 13-3, 9-2 in league play.

The Hornets used a three-run rally in the top of the seventh inning to secure Saturday’s road win. The first two runs came courtesy of a Hazen error, a fielder’s choice, a walk, a balk and an RBI bunt. The game-winning run was scored thanks to a single by Ryan Bird.

The story was similar in the home dugout, as the Highlanders scored both their runs due to some sloppy Hornet defense. Four White River pitchers combined to allow Hazen only four hits.

Due to  poor weather and rescheduled games, White River and Franklin Pierce played twice in a three-day span last week. The Hornets won 5-1 at home April 18 and lost 5-4 on the road Friday.

Playing at home, White River’s victory was spurred by the pitching of Cole Johnson. He went the distance, striking out eight while allowing only three hits.

Offensively, the Hornets’ big blast was a double by Bird that plated three runs.

Friday’s game saw the Hornets fall behind 3-0 and 5-1, only to rally in the final two innings. White River scored two in the sixth inning and one in the seventh, ending the game with a runner on second base. Johnson had two hits for the Hornets and Bird had two RBI.

Hornet coach Mike Williams noted an interesting, unusual statistic from Friday’s game – his team did not record an out at first base. Franklin Pierce batters struck out, hit fly balls and hit ground balls that resulted in infield outs, but none of the Cardinal runners were out at first.

Sitting in second place in the SPSL 2A, White River was slated to play a crucial home contest Tuesday afternoon against the league-leading Fife Trojans.

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