Sports

STATE BASEBALL: Decatur loses seventh-inning heart-breaker to Auburn Mountainview, 9-8

It was a heart-breaking way for the Decatur High School baseball team to end its most successful season in 24 years. The Gators led rival Auburn Mountainview by two runs entering the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday in a Class 3A quarterfinals at Wheeler Field in Centralia.

But it wasn’t meant to be for Decatur. The Lions tallied three runs in their final at-bat to beat the Gators, 9-8, for the fifth time in six games this season and earned a spot in the state semifinals next weekend in Pasco.

Auburn Mountainview (24-3) sent seven hitters to the plate during the seventh inning. The game ended on a bases-loaded single by Nick Brooks to left field with the score tied.

Decatur (17-11) earned the Final Eight berth after beating O’Dea earlier in the day, 6-4. It was the program’s first state tournament win since the 1988 season. The last time the Gators played at state was in 1999.

The Gators actually led the game against Auburn Mountainview 7-2 into the fifth inning and 8-5 after six, thanks to a huge offensive game from sophomore shortstop Isaiah Hatch. Hatch connected on a pair of home runs and finished 3 for 3 with three RBIs for Decatur.

Chris Carns, who pitched into the seventh inning for the Gators, finished 2 for 4 with an RBI, double and a run.

Against O’Dea, the Gators got a solid pitching performance from junior Janson Junk. The right-hander allowed two runs through 5 1/3 innings and also connected on an RBI triple during the 6-4 win.

Decatur led 6-2 into the seventh inning before O’Dea (13-9) tallied a pair of runs. Hatch picked up the save for the Gators. Senior Derik Bontempo was 1 for 1 with a triple and two runs.

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