Baseball: Cruisers snap losing streak with walk-off win

Eatonville's Aaron Tozier stands ready for the pitch in a game against Hoquiam. Tozier doubled in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Cruisers an 9-8 win.

Eatonville's Aaron Tozier stands ready for the pitch in a game against Hoquiam. Tozier doubled in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Cruisers an 9-8 win.
Sarah Rath

After a challenging spring season marred by rainouts, the Eatonville Cruiser boys baseball team faced a tumultuous week that culminated in an exhilarating doubleheader against the Hoquiam Grizzlies.

The week began with a rainout against Vashon on April 8, further frustrating the Cruisers who have battled frequent cancellations this season. However, the weather took a favorable turn as they squared off against Hoquiam in a doubleheader to finish the week.

In game one, Hoquiam would build a 2-0 lead in the 4th inning, but the Cruisers would plate four runs in the bottom half of that inning. After a walk and then an error put a couple runners on 1st and 3rd for Eatonville to start the inning, the Cruisers would get on the board when Ethan Evans scored from third on a passed ball by the catcher. Brody Thirtyacre would advance to third on that same passed ball and then would score on a Santos Ruvalcaba sacrifice fly to knot the game up at 2-2. With 2 outs in the inning, Colton Herbrand singled to left and then Owen Archer followed with a walk. With runners on first and second, Michaels Stogsdill stepped to the plate and crushed a double to left that scored both runners to put the Cruisers up 4-2. 

That score would hold until the top of the 6th inning when the Grizzlies would plate four more runs to take a 6-4 lead. Eatonville would leave a runner stranded at 3rd in the bottom half of the 6th and then go down in order in the bottom half of the seventh giving the Grizzlies a 6-4 win. 

Undeterred, the Cruisers rallied in the second half of the doubleheader. Behind the pitching by Payton Hanly, who allowed only one hit and struck out five batters in four innings, Eatonville surged to a 6-0 lead by the 5th inning.

With Hanly up against a pitch count, the Cruisers would bring in Herbrand in relief. The Grizzlies would get to Herbrand for a run in the 5th and three more in the 6th to climb back in the game at 6-4.

The Cruisers would play a little add on in the bottom of the 6th. After Ethan Evans led off the inning with a four pitch walk, Justen Koch would pinch hit for Brody Thirtyacre and he would double to center field, advancing Evans to third, who would eventually score on an error by the pitcher to put the Cruisers up 7-4.

Head Coach Doug Fillbach would go to the bullpen once again and bring Aaron Tozier to pitch the 7th in relief of Herbrand. Hoquiam would rough up Tozier for four runs in the inning to take an 8-7 lead into the bottom of the inning.

Trailing by one run with one out in the inning, things started to look gloomy for the Cruisers. Michael Stogsdill would give the team a glimmer of hope as he drew a five pitch walk to put the tying run on first. Payton Hanly would follow that up with a single up the middle, advancing Stogsdill to third. With runners on first and third, Eatonville was starting to believe. Aaron Tozier stepped to the plate and crushed the first pitch he saw to center scoring Stogsdill and Hanly to secure the Cruiser 9-8 walk-off win, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.  

Not only did that win snap the team’s eight game losing streak it also gave Eatonville their first win in the always competitive 1A Evergreen League.

Hanly would lead the Cruisers with his 3-4 performance at the plate, but it was Aaron Tozier’s 1-5 performance, driving in the game winning run that was the highlight of the day.

Eatonville looks to keep their winnings ways going as they head to Tenino on April 16 in a league match up before finishing out the week against the 3A classification Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma at 7 p.m. 


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