TACOMA — Tanyr Gagnon had to crush his AP Psychology test before he could crush the competition.
Klahowya began its 1A West Central District III elimination game against Chimacum without its ace right-hander, but Gagnon finished off the exam arrived at Foss High School just in the nick of time.
Chimacum had taken a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the third inning on a Cole Dotson two-run single. The Cowboys had runners at second and third with one out. The Eagles were in a precarious situation and head coach Eddie Beloate signaled for Gagnon to take the mound.
“I’ve done it before,” Gagnon said. “I’ve come into situations like that and gotten out of it and I felt really good.”
He was a little tired after his exam, but he struck out the next two batters to extinguish the threat and followed up with five shutout frames. Klahowya came back to tie the game at 4 in the seventh on Jacob Manavie’s infield single and then went ahead in extra innings on a Nathen Mjor sacrifice fly.
Gagnon then shut the door in the bottom of the eighth to seal the victory. Klahowya will play a winner-to-state, loser-out game against Seattle Christian at noon on Saturday at Curtis High School.
“He did a great job,” Beloate said. “He throws strikes, he throws hard and it was nice to see him working ahead in the count.”
The Eagles rattled off four consecutive base hits to start the game and scored the first run on Logan Schoenberg’s RBI-single, but then stranded two runners on base.
That opened the door for Chimacum to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second, but then in the top of the third Logan Prater smashed a line drive to center field to score Hunter Wallis to tie the game again.
As the Cowboys threatened to blow open the game in the bottom of the third, Gagnon was hurriedly warming up and having some difficulty using turf shoes on a dirt mound.
But once he got into the game, he immediately stabilized the situation. In the following 5 2/3 innings, Gagnon gave up just two hits and two walks — plus one intentional walk — and struck out nine.
“When you’re not fully warmed up you just resort to your mechanics and hit your spots,” Gagnon said. “Just throw strikes.”
That allowed to offense to continue to grind out at bats against Chimacum’s ace.
In the top of the fourth, the Eagles pulled within a run. Chase Templeton reached on a fielder’s choice and then stole second and move up to third on a wild pitch. Chance Stoner then hit a grounder to the right side that scored Templeton for an RBI.
Stoner opened the seventh with a single and then bases eventually were loaded as Mjor was hit by a pitch and Gagnon singled. After a flyout, Manavie hit a bouncer in just the right spot that forced the Chimacum second baseman to charge in. He threw to second, but Gagnon was safe. Stoner had scored and Manavie reached on an infield single to tie the game.
In the eighth, Templeton and Stoner drew back-to-back one out walks and Wallis reached on an error. Mjor hit a fly ball to center field deep enough to score Templeton and put the Eagles ahead.
Gagnon went back to the mound and set down the Cowboys in order, striking out the last hitter to see his team survive another day.
“We’ve been telling the kids — what we do throughout the regular season, we’re building for the end,” Beloate said. “And you never know what happens at the end.”
Klahowya 5, Chimacum 4 (eight innings)
KL 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 — 5 11 3
CH 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 — 4 7 1
WP: Gagnon LP: Serrato
Klahowya — Lawson 2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, K; Gagnon 5.2 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 9 K.
Chimacum — Dotson 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K; Serrato 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB.
Klahowya — Prater 3-5, 2B, RBI; Manavie 1-3, RBI, BB; Wallis 2-5, 2 R, SB; Mjor 1-2, RBI, BB; Stoner 1-2, RBI, 2 BB, R; Schoenberg 1-2, RBI; Templeton 0-3, 2 R, 2 SB; Gagnon 1-1; Williamson 1-4.
Chimacum — Purser 2-4, 2B, R; Dotson 1-3, 2 RBI, BB; Preston 1-4, R, SB; Brebberman 1-3, R, 2 SB; Clark 1-4, SB.