The post-season began Monday in Castle Rock for this year’s 1A Trico League baseball champions against Forks, the No. 4 en-try out of the 1A Evergreen League.

Columbia High closed out the 2019 regular season last Friday with a win at home over Stevenson. The Bruins won their three-game series with the Bulldogs, 2-1, to finish 10-2 in the Trico and 15-4 overall.

On April 30, the Bruins and the Bulldogs split a double-header in Carson. Stevenson won the opener, 3-2. Columbia rebounded to win the nightcap in six innings, 16-6.

In the latter contest, Garrett Hogberg won the decision and helped the Bruins’ cause by collecting two hits and driving in three runs.

Dominic Raether tripled, scored twice, and provided four RBI. Sean McMahon had three hits, one run, and one RBI, and Austin Charters tallied three hits, three runs, and an RBI.

Hogberg was 2 for 2 with three RBI, and Payden Webster was 2 for 4 with three runs. Trenton Howard walked twice.

The Bruins out-hit the Bulldogs, 12-3, and stole six bases in a contest that saw both sides commit three fielding errors.

Hogberg and reliever Kolby Riggleman, who combined for three strikeouts, allowed 10 base runners (4 and 6, respectively).

After a scoreless first inning, the Bruins got their offense untracked in the second, plating three runs. They extended their lead to 5-0 in the third.

Stevenson countered with two runs off Hogberg in the bottom of the frame. CHS had a big answer, bringing home six runs in the top of the fourth to push its lead into double digits at 11-2.

The Bruins led 15-2 in the fifth before the Bulldogs found success against Riggleman. They brought in four runs to make it 15-6 in hopes of stretching the contest to a regulation seven innings.

Columbia tallied a run in the sixth to give it a 16-6 lead and three outs away from a 10-run mercy-rule victory.

Riggleman worked a scoreless sixth to finish off the win.

Raether suffered his first defeat of the season in relief of Bruins ace Davis Koester, losing the opener, 3-2.

The Bulldogs scratched out two earned runs against Koester and led 2-0 after four innings. Koester, who yielded three hits and struck out four, gave way to Raether for the fifth. The southpaw allowed one earned run on three hits.

Columbia got one the scoreboard in the top of the sixth to pull within 2-1 but Stevenson answered in the home half with a run that pushed their lead to 3-1.

CHS got a run back in the top of the seventh but Stevenson’s relief corps got the last two outs before further damage could be inflicted.

Koester had two of CHS’s seven base hits; one was a double. Payden Webster and McMahon each had a hit and a run batted in. Charters, Howard, and Trevor Cooper each had one hit.

Stevenson ace Brandon Connell got the win with relief help. The right-hander gave up five hits and one earned run in 6.1 in-nings, with 12 strikeouts.

Connell, who scored the game’s first run on a ground out after his first-inning double, finished with three of Stevenson’s six hits.

The Bulldogs led 2-0 before Howard scored on McMahon’s RBI single in the top of the sixth.

Columbia threatened in the top of the seventh and pulled within 3-2 on Webster’s run-scoring double. The game ended with the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second.

The Bruins closed out their season series with the Bulldogs, and the 2019 regular season, last Friday on Hecomovich Field.

A six-run first inning propelled the Bru-ins to a 16-6 victory in five innings. The big first at-bat put CHS on top 6-1. Stevenson led 1-0 on an RBI double by Connell.

Raether, who got the start and pitched the first three innings, picked up the decision. Hogberg worked the last two innings. The two allowed six hits.

CHS racked up 12 hits and eight stolen bases in their 15th victory of the season.

McMahon went 3 for 4 with three runs, three RBI, and two stolen bases.

Cooper and Charters both were 2 for 3. Howard was 1 for 3 with three runs and three steals. The three thefts gave Howard 21 stolen bases on the season.

Coming up: The Southwest District Tournament continues through this week and culminates on Saturday with championship and consolation final games. The top three finishers will qualify for berths in one of four WIAA Regional Tournaments that will be played next weekend.

After Monday’s opening round, winners and losers in the double-elimination tournament were slated to play again on Tuesday. Coin flips from the second round on will determine who is the home team for each game.

Loser-out games will be played on May 10. The championship game will take place on May 11 at 3 p.m. The winner will be the District’s No. 1 seed to State, the loser No. 2. The third-place game at noon will precede the title contest.

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