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UNLV-bound Jordan Hanson's shutdown day sends Tumwater to Class 2A state semifinals in 2-1 win over Ephrata

Tumwater coach Lyle Overbay, a 13-year MLB veteran, preserved his arsenal of arms. And in the T-Birds' regional double-header sweep, it paid off.

CHEHALIS, Wash. — Ephrata coach Jason Laugen walked away from the W.F. West baseball field devastated.

He got a complete game pitching effort from senior pitcher Garet Hagy. The Tigers didn't complete a single error. Hagy didn't walk a batter. But against Tumwater, the four-seed with three Division I arms and a 13-year MLB veteran coach, what could it possible take?

"I can’t say that it is, but it felt like this could have been the state title game," Ephrata coach Jason Laugen said. "That’s the best pitching we’ve faced all season."

Tumwater (19-6) beat Ephrata (20-6) 2-1 in the regional quarterfinals on Saturday at W.F West High School, booking its trip to the WIAA state semifinals in Yakima next weekend.

UNLV-bound Jordan Hanson threw 11 strikeouts while giving up a hit (none earned), run and a walk in 6 2/3 innings. And when he reached the WIAA's 105-pitch threshold, Alex Overbay struck out the final batter in four pitches. 

Down 2-1, Garet Hagy, the starting pitcher who hit the walk-off single in the opening round, logged the first and only hit of the day with a ground ball single.

Senior Ethan Gustafson bunted into a fielder's choice to put two runners on base, trailing 2-1. Then Hanson delivered three consecutive strikeouts. 

Hanson called the run Tumwater gave up — a Seth Chamberlain haul from second on a Tyson Laugen bunt and ensuing Tumwater error — a wake up call. 

"After that, I was like 'I've got to throw strikes,' " Hanson said. "My placement was a lot better, not as wild."

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Washington State pitching commit Ryan Orr, who threw 17 strikeouts in the first round regional game Saturday morning, went 2-for-2 at the plate. His third inning hard ground ball single to the opposing short stop drove in junior Brayden Oram to put the T-Birds up 2-1.

Overbay, a Centralia grad who played 13 years in MLB, limited his top two arms in recent weeks to save them for these final two weekends. 

“They were fresh," Overbay said. "They were solid all the to the seventh inning … so far so good.”

Now, he's returning to Yakima's County Stadium for the first time since 2015, when he followed his alma mater Centralia's Class 2A state title run.

Hanson admits he was nervous before his second round start, especially considering the win-or-go-home stakes. Seeing Orr dominate in the first game cooled his nerves. 

"You get out there, dial in and you don't really feel (nerves)," Hanson said. "You just want to compete."

The Tigers won three loser-out district tournament games to qualify for the playoffs. Jason Laugen said at 6-foot-7, Hanson hurls the ball into the strike zone from an angle his players hadn't seen. He was stunned in the game's aftermath.

He choked back tears describing his 13 seniors, many of whom he coached from a young age — including Tyson Laugen, his son.

"These are great young men," Laugen said. "The tenacity they bring to this game, they’ll bring to life. Hopefully there are 13 weddings in the future."

--Andy Buhler; @AndyBuhler.