CASTLE ROCK - The Fishermen were up 6-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning against Castle Rock, who is second in the Trico League, and with two outs and the bases loaded Ilwaco chucker Justin Short coaxed a fly ball to apparently end the inning. It was misjudged and before the smoke cleared, the Rockets had detonated to a 7-6 lead and they would win going away 15-6 there Friday.

The Fishermen had played errorless baseball the first 18 innings of the three-game series against Castle Rock, but committed two more miscues in the next two frames after the game-changing miscue in the fourth. Coach Dave Tapio said, "All six of their runs in the fourth were unearned and we only gave up four earned runs in the game, but Castle Rock made a huge 180 degree turnaround when we opened the flood gates for them."

He added, "We were not able to score the last four innings, although we had several opportunities. This loss is a major let-down because we played them tough and had the opportunity to win the series. When we stopped making the routine plays they were experienced enough and good enough to take advantage. To our kids' credit they didn't give up, but kept competing. We have come a long way as a team, but it would have been nice to win one or two of these games."

The Fishermen had some fireworks of their own against the Rockets in the first inning as they plated four runs before an out was recorded. A walk, an RBI-double by Austin Wirkkala, and then RBI singles from Justin Short, Skyler Olson and Dylan Short put Ilwaco up 4-0.

The Fishermen took a commanding 6-1 lead in the third frame when Dylan Short led off with a booming double, Olson tripled him home, and Ryan Tapio's single knocked in Olson. For the day Olson was 3-3 with a triple, Dylan Short was 2-4 with a double, Wirkkala was 1-4 with a double, and Nick Cox, Tapio, and Justin Short all finished 1-3 at the dish.

Justin Short started and pitched 5 2/3 innings, striking out seven, walking five, allowing six hits and only three earned runs. Olson finished on the mound for Ilwaco after pitching three innings the day before.

Ilwaco is now 3-8 in the Trico and 4-10 for the season, while the Rockets up their mark to 10-2 in league play and they are 11-3 for the year.

The Chinook Observer

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