Baseball extra: Skyview 6, Union 2

Union opened the baseball season with seven consecutive wins, including two in the 4A Greater St. Helens League.

Skyview opened the baseball season as “the team to beat,” the squad with the favorite tag.

Nothing has been settled yet, but Skyview has the early advantage.

Alec Chaney had the biggest hit of the afternoon, and Brooks Hanson had the hot bat throughout the game to lead Skyview to a 6-2 victory Tuesday over the Titans.

Chaney smashed a two-run double over third base with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, giving Skyview a 4-2 lead. Hanson followed with his own two-run double for the extra insurance. Hanson also had a two-run double in the fourth inning.

For Chaney, it was an end of a slump. He was 0 for 5 with five strikeouts coming into the game. Then he struck out in the first inning before getting walked and hit by a pitch in his next two plate appearances.

Hanson was in the on-deck circle when Chaney broke out of his funk.

“I think he thrives in clutch situations,” Hanson said. “I had confidence in him the whole time.”

I’m not going to break this tie. They can share my player-of-the-game award.

Chaney mug Hanson mug

That’s Alec on the left and Brooks on the right.

Pitchers ruled: Mav Yamaguchi retired nine batters in a row at one point. He had a no-hitter into the fourth inning. He gave up two runs — one earned — in the sixth before Adam Walker relieved him. Walker got out of a one-out, two-on jam with a strikeout and a infield pop-up.

“We’ve got good guys on the bump. We can pitch a little bit,” Skyview coach Eric Estes said. “It’s going to come down to if we can play defense and get a clutch hit now and then.”

That was Skyview’s recipe for success Tuesday. The Storm had five hits, and made them count.

On the other side, Union’s Jake Hawken had a strong start, as well. He, too, had a no-hitter the first time through the Skyview lineup. The Storm got to him for two runs in the fourth, but he returned to his groove for a bit. He left the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth. Ryan Carlson came in and got the strikeout to get out of the jam. A costly error led to four unearned runs in the top of the seventh.

A tough call either way: Jack Bauer’s smash to right field scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth for Union, tying the game. The ball deflected off the side of the first baseman’s glove. There was some discussion whether it was a hit or an error. The home book went with a double. Union coach Tom Lampkin said it was one of those plays where the infielder knows he probably should have made the play, but it was a rocket blast and the ball was never inside the glove.

Skyview’s here: Both Chaney and Hanson said this was a big win for the Storm, just to show they could win a game like this. Sure, the Storm came into the season as that “team to beat” but they did lose three non-league games. Now that it’s league, these games are more important.

“We had to send the message that we’re definitely one of the best teams in the area,” Hanson said.

“This is going to translate into postseason play,” Chaney said. “Tonight proved we can make it pretty far.”

Union’s perspective: The Titans were in a tie game going into the final inning. Coach Tom Lampkin said that is all he can ask of his guys, to be in position to win.

“I thought it was a good baseball game. It came down to the last at-bats,” Lampkin said. “That’s what good baseball games do. This was a great test for us.”

Tough teams everywhere: So while Skyview vs. Union clearly was a good game to watch based on the standings and expectations, don’t look past the other teams in the 4A GSHL.

“The 4A is stacked this year,” Lampkin said. “It’s a good league. We’re going to have to play well every day.”

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