Taking a break from league play after a solid start to the season, the Cheney Studs came back from a three-run deficit to claim a 5-3 win over the Thurston County Senators on June 12 at Curtis High School.
The Senators threatened early against Studs starter Gavin Hite, loading the bases in the second and third innings. But Hite escaped both jams to keep the game scoreless, including inducing Derek Voigt to line out to center fielder Jett Hart, who made a brilliant throw home to double off Shane Colbert at the plate to end the third.
But Thurston County finally struck for three runs in the fourth against Nate Aguiar, as Colbert crushed a double to right center to score Brandon Evans and Zack Leonard, and Colbert scored on a throwing on the following play on a throwing error by Brian Embery. The Studs, meanwhile, struggled at the plate in the beginning, being held to just two hits in the first four innings.
“We have quite a potent offense, and they just haven’t figured out how good they are at the plate,” said Studs head coach Barry Aden. “We have some guys coming off of college ball, and they’ve had two or three weeks off. Some of them just jumped in tonight for the first time. Once those guys figure it out and when we get our sequence together…we should be a six or seven-run offense.”
The Studs finally answered in the fifth inning, as Kyle Boe led off with a walk, Embery hit a bloop double to left center and Curtis grad Kyle Phillips drove in Boe with a single to right to cut it to 3-1. Catcher Garrett Breda followed with a run-scoring grounder to short to plate Embery, and Jett Hart drilled a triple off the left field fence two batters later to score Phillips and tie it 3-3.
“We actually needed that to get over the hump and get going,” Aden said. “I think that was what turned the page for the team.”
The Studs took their first lead the following inning, as left fielder Caleb Brown reached on a throwing error, stole second and scored on Eric Peterson’s double to right field. The Senators had a chance to tie in the seventh, getting runners on first and third, but left-hander Thomas DeBoer got Evans to line out to Boe at short to end the threat.
The Studs then added insurance in the bottom of the eighth when Boe walked, stole second and scored on Phillips’ booming double to left.
Taylor Thompson came on for the Studs in the eighth and retired the final six Thurston County batters to pick up the save, as he and DeBoer held the Senators hitless in the final four innings.
“Those guys are going to be huge parts of our (pitching staff),” Aden said.
With the win the Studs improved to 7-2 overall, with a 6-1 record in the Pacific International League. The Studs now head down to Arcada, Calif. for a three-game non-league series against the Humboldt Crabs on June 15-17. The team doesn’t return home until June 26, when they take on En Fuego at the University of Puget Sound at 5:30 p.m.