Starting to sense a regional Class 1A State Tournament win, one swing of the bat put the Trojans’ bid for a quarterfinal appearance in jeopardy.
Meridian one inning later was left in shock at the hands of Vashon Island’s come-from-behind, late-inning victory.
The Pirates had produced little offense through the first five innings, but Vashon Island’s Chester Pruett drilled a first pitch game-tying, two-run homer over the left field wall off Meridian starter Derek Campfield with two outs in the sixth.
Another two runs with two outs came across in the seventh off an infield single, and the Trojans couldn’t recover in a 5-3 state tournament opening-round loss Saturday, May 21, at rainy Castle Rock.
“We let them hang in there and that one kid clutched up and hit a home run,” Meridian coach Steve Slesk said. “But we shouldn’t have gotten to that point. ... One thing, I can’t fault our kids. They played hard.”
On a wet, rainy day, Meridian (12-12) defensively didn’t play especially clean, and Vashon Island made them pay with a number of infield singles to extend innings.
Campfield enjoyed a brilliant final game of his career, pitching a complete game with nine strikeouts. He also was 3 for 4 at the plate with a key RBI double that gave Meridian a first-inning lead. Campfield was responsible for half of the Trojans’ hits.
“Derek threw a great game; he didn’t deserve those five runs,” said Slesk of his big left-handed ace. “He had a heck of a day. First at-bat he crunched that one. All the balls he hit hard. He had a great baseball game.”
Brady Moore scored once in the first and came around again in the third, scoring after Vashon Island’s catcher tried to throw out a stealing Trojan going to second with two outs. The run gave Meridian a 3-1 lead.
Meridian had a few more chances to extend its lead, but Pruett’s big blast brought the Pirates back to life in the sixth.
Vashon’s go-ahead runs in the top of the seventh were somewhat of a microcosm of what burned the Trojans throughout. Pirates’ Clyde Pruett hit a slow bouncer to Meridian’s shortstop who needed to make a great play at first. But the throw was low and scooted past the first baseman, allowing two runs to score.
Meridian got two runners on in the bottom of the seventh but was unable to rally.
“I still think we are good enough to win it all, but you got to put it all together,” Slesk said.
Vashon Island 5, Meridian 3
WP: Jeremy Pilgram-Stoppel. LP: Derek Campfield. Highlights: Meridian: Derek Campfield 3-4, 2B, RBI; Quinn Swanson 1-3, 2B; Brady Moore 0-2, 2BB, 2R, SB. Vashon Island: Chester Pruett 1-3, HR, 2RBI, R; Clyde Pruett 2-4, R, RBI; Sam Schoenberg 2-4, 2B.