Philomath High School’s baseball season ended in the Class 4A state baseball semifinals on Tuesday night with an 8-0 loss at La Grande. The Warriors struggled at the plate against Tigers senior Devin Bell, who threw a no-hitter and allowed just two base runners in a dominating performance.
Adding to his performance on the mound, Bell at the plate went 3 for 3 with three RBIs, including a two-run home run in the second inning that gave the home team a 5-0 lead.
For the Warriors, it was the end of a magical final month of the season. Philomath had won 11 of 12 games heading into the 4A semifinals, advancing further than what their No. 8 seed indicated. The Warriors were unranked in the OSAAtoday coaches’ poll until the final week of the season when they slipped in at No. 9.
Along the way, the team won the Oregon West Conference championship, defeated nemesis Henley in the first round of the state playoffs and took down No. 1 Banks on the road in the quarterfinals.
La Grande will take a 27-1 record into the 4A championship game on Saturday at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer against second-seeded Hidden Valley (27-2), another hot team that eliminated Mazana in the semifinals, 10-1.
Bell had a perfect game against Philomath through five innings. Then with one out in the sixth — at that point, the La Grande pitcher had retired 16 straight — Warriors senior Blake Niemann reached with a walk. Niemann advanced to second on a wild pitch to get into scoring position but the inning ended on a fly to center and a lineout to shortstp.
In the seventh, Philomath got a second base runner on the base paths when sophomore Mason Stearns walked. But he was thrown out attempting to steal second and the game ended on a strikeout.
La Grande scored three runs in the first and two in the second to take control early. Senior Nick Bornstedt hit a two-out, two-run double for the Tigers’ first runs and two batters later, senior Braden Carson singled to bring in a third run.
Bell followed with his two-run shot in the second — also coming with two outs.
In the third, the Tigers added a run on a two-out single by junior Sam Tsiatsos. And in the fourth, another run crossed when senior Cesar Rodriguez worked a bases-loaded walk with one out. The damage could’ve been worse but PHS junior David Griffith ended the inning with a double play.
La Grande’s final run came in the fifth on a two-out single by Bell.
Senior Skylar Brolin threw four innings and allowed seven hits, seven runs and seven walks with six strikeouts. Junior Brayden Shenk relieved and went two innings, allowing three hits and one run with two walks and two strikeouts.
Bell went the distance and struck out 11 to go along with those two walks allowed.