Tornados Battle For First Win Against Cougars, Fall 12-9 in 7th-Inning Bout

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Tornados baseball (0-7) are still looking for their first win after a seventh-inning battle against the Capital Cougars handed them a 12-9 loss Saturday, April 10, at home. 

Dawson Schnetz and Aden Schaler proved key at the bat for the Tornados. 

Schnetz, a junior, went 2-for-3 at bat and tallied three runs, and Schaler, a sophomore, went 3-for-4 at bat with two runs. 

Yelm junior Kollin Gifford was the playmaker that day for the Tornados going 3-for-4 at bat, securing four RBIs and two runs for his team with zero strikeouts. 

The Cougars (3-3) had the edge on hits with 15 to the Tornados’ 14. Yelm had twice the number of errors as their rival.

Junior Tyler Penlesky led Yelm on the mound through five innings, striking out three batters but allowing 10 hits and one walk. Schnetz and senior Abraham Fowler combined for late-game relief and struckout two, allowing four walks and five hits. 

Capital senior Kolby Kero had the lone homer of the day on a fly ball to left field that allowed him to walk off on a single run. 

Yelm was able to hold a steady lead in early innings against Capital, but the Cougars bounced back from the narrow lead to overtake Yelm tied at 6 at the top of the sixth inning. 

Tornados Hope to Bounce Back After Slow Start

Seven games deep and with a win eluding them, the Tornados will be looking to bounce back as they enter into the final weeks of play in the COVID-modified South Sound Conference. 

First-year head coach Jeremy Burnett said his boys have come a long way since the start of the season, during which pre-season practices were muddled with the overlapping of spring football. 

“We’ve had some ups and downs, some bumps along the way, but definitely showing improvement each and every game and we’ll take that and build confidence into next week,” Burnett told the Nisqually Valley News earlier this month. 

The Tornados are a relatively young group this season, with only five seniors on a 15-man roster and only a single returner this season. Burnett said that’s made for a large learning curve, especially with the change in speed between junior varsity and varsity. 

“The thing is, we’ve been moving players around a lot, trying to get that good mixture and trying to get a good balance out there,” Burnett said. 

Yelm is also looking for a top bull to throw on the mound and they’ve been rotating a five-man pitching squad with relatively shallow depth. 

“We’re kind of using everybody right now,” Burnett said. 

Gifford has been a real playmaker and has been solid as catcher for Yelm, Burnett said, and senior center fielder Dylan Burnett has been a leadoff batter. 

Burnett said the most improvement in his team by the end of the season could be on Yelm’s ability to make plays and find crucial hits while they have a man on base. As this young Tornados team grows into their own, Burnett said he also hopes they become more vocal in the dugout. 

“It’s just eliminating some mistakes and staying positive throughout the whole game,” Burnett said. 

Yelm Tornados: 2, 1, 0, 3, 0, 0, 3

Capital Cougars: 0, 2, 3, 0, 1, 1, 5

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