The Sideline

Mark Serrano scattered four hits over seven innings as the Reno Aces defeated a tired and travel-weary Tacoma Rainiers squad by a score of 6-1 on Thursday night at Cheney Stadium in the opener of a four-game series.

“(Brandon) Maurer was a little dehydrated tonight, he tried but he just could not compete,” said Tacoma manager John Stearns of his big right-hander, who had a stint in the Mariners’ rotation to start the season before being sent down.

Maurer faced six hitters in the top of the first inning and gave up three hits, two walks, and a hit batter to account for the Aces’ four-run outburst, which would be all they needed.

The Rainiers had trouble solving the right-handed Serrano, with Carlos Triunfel’s fifth-inning solo home run providing the lone tally. The Rainiers threatened to cut into the Aces’ lead in the second inning, but left the bases as Triunfel grounded out to third to end the threat.

The Tacoma bullpen did a good job throughout the game by keeping the Rainiers close, but the offense could not come up with the clutch two-out hits when they were needed.

“All things considered, our bullpen was great,” said Stearns. “This team has done a real good job of hanging together with all the player movements between here and Seattle. I’m real proud of their effort.”

Carlos Peguero was the only Rainier to manage two hits on the night, as Serrano was in control for seven innings before giving way to Kevin Munson in the eighth and Evan Marshall in the ninth.

The series will continue through Sunday before the All-Star Break, with the Pacific Coast League All-Star Game next Wednesday night.

It’s been a bumpy road in the early going for the Wilson Rams in the first half of the American Legion summer baseball season, with game cancellations and rescheduling due to complications with scheduled field demolition at Wilson.

But for a while all the insanity was forgotten on Tuesday afternoon, as Brady O’Keefe and Jared Horner combined on a no-hitter over five innings and the Rams topped Wollochet by a score of 11-0 to take the first half of the double header at Wilson Field.

“Jared and I would get a little ribbing occasionally between innings reminding us of the ‘no-pressure situation,’” said O’Keefe, who threw the first three innings and finished with six strikeouts and two walks.

Horner had a different approach to the drama. “If I have good stuff in the bullpen before the game, I will usually take it with me to the mound and today was no exception,” he said. “Brady and I were both on today.”

Horner would finish with five strikeouts and only one walk to receive the win.

Wilson won the nightcap 11-7 as Evan Stout would pick up the win for Rams by going four strong innings. The win vaulted Wilson to 7-2 on the young season, with a weekend date at Foss and the Tugs Memorial tournament upcoming.

“This is always a good, competitive field, with the likes of Foss and two-time winner Olympic involved, so we’ll have to be ready,” said Wilson head coach Doug Rupe.

The tournament honors past coaches of any sport at Foss who have passed on.

Fighting back from a one-goal deficit most of the game, the Sounders U23s were able to pull out a 3-3 draw against the Washington Crossfire on Sunday night at Redmond High School to remain alone in fourth place in the league standings.

The Sounders were in a 1-0 hole early, as Crossfire midfielder Matthew Sarett avoided a tackle at the left side of the box and drove a shot into the right netting past Sounders keeper Zac Lubin. The Sounders then went on the attack, getting several good looks but no finish. They equaled the score in the 37th minute when Aodhan Quinn slipped a ball through on the left side to Aaron Kovar, who outraced the defense and sent a beautiful ball in front of goal to Luis Esteves, who drove it in.

But the Crossfire took the lead right back three minutes later when James Moberg was hacked in the box and converted the penalty kick. The Sounders had a golden opportunity in the 42nd minute when Esteves sent a chip to a wide open Sean Okoli on the right side, but Okoli’s low shot flew just left of goal. Okoli laid off another opportunity to Quinn three minutes later at the top of the box, but Quinn’s shot sailed just wide as well.

But the Sounders equalized again four minutes into the second half, as Kovar moved around a defender on the left side and chipped a ball into the box, where defender Mark Lee was waiting to head it in. But the momentum was short lived again, as the Crossfire’s Sean Russell scored from the right side in the 51st minute after outracing the Sounders’ defense.

The Sounders created several opportunities in controlling possession for much of the next 30 minutes, but were unable to strike. It was a couple of substitutes that combined for another equalizer in the 82nd minute, as Maximiliano Estrada sent a nice pass to Eric Stevenson in the middle of the pitch, and Stevenson drilled a low shot past Crossfire keeper Mike Arguello from 30 yards out.

The win gives the Sounders 14 points in league contests with four matches to go, as they sit three points ahead of the Crossfire in a battle for the last playoff spot. The Sounders will travel to take on North Sound at Edmonds-Woodway High School on July 4 at 4 p.m.

Clover Park star senior-to-be David Crisp led the Warriors to narrow victories over Lincoln and Foss to capture the Tacoma Community College Summer League Basketball Tournament title on Thursday afternoon.

Crisp scored 21 of his game-high 29 points in the second half to help the Warriors top Foss 68-64 in a back-and-forth title game. Center Markel James chipped in with 16 points for the Warriors, while Tino Smith added 11 points.

The Falcons were led by Lincoln transfer Ar’Mond Davis, who scored 22 points in the finals after earlier scoring 19 points in a 58-32 win over South Kitsap in the semifinals. Davis drained five three-pointers in the two games, and had some moments of defensive brilliance as well. Senior Olashawan Miller was key for the Falcons as well, tallying 16 points in looking to become the inside leader to replace league MVP Dezmyn Trent. Miller had tallied 11 points in the earlier win over South Kitsap. Incoming freshman Roberto Gittens also shined for Foss on the day, scoring 12 points in the semifinals and 13 points against Clover Park to show he may be a key figure in the upcoming season.

Clover Park had earlier escaped with a 59-56 win over Lincoln after the Abes’ missed a three-pointer to tie at the buzzer. With Tre’Shaun Fletcher graduating and Ahmaad Rorie transferring, the Abes’ scoring was spread out amongst a number of players. But incoming freshman Londrell Hamilton – who scored 14 of his team-high 15 points in the second half – displayed great speed and playmaking ability, showing he might make an immediate impact next winter.

Full story on the day’s events in the July 5 issue of Tacoma Weekly.

Chambers wins 400 at Junior Nationals

Recently graduated Foss athlete Marcus Chambers won the 400-meter dash at the U.S. Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships on June 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa to qualify for the 2013 Pan American Junior Championships.

Chambers, who won the 400- and 200-meter titles at the 3A state meet in late May, finished in a time of 46.55 seconds in the finals of the 400 on June 23 to edge Juan Paul Green of Illinois by nine hundredths of a second.

“It was great experience racing against all the top guys of the country,” said Chambers, noting that a brutal wind at Drake Stadium – on the campus of Drake University – was a difficult challenge. “That last 110 meters was hard for all of us. We had to push through. I just told myself to keep my arms pumping and my legs would follow.”

Chambers noted that with professional athletes competing concurrently at the venue in the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the event was unlike any other he has competed in. “It was a place with a great atmosphere,” he said. “It was one of the biggest meets I’ve been in.”

With the win Chambers qualifies to run in the 400-meter dash and the 4X400-meter relay at the Pan American Junior Championships, which will take place in Medellin, Colombia on Aug. 23-25. But first, he will run the 200 and 400 at the U.S. Junior Olympics on July 22-28 at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C. as part of his ongoing training.

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