Who saw that coming?
Reedsport, which was ranked No. 1 in the final Class 2A/1A coaches’ poll, had a nightmarish first inning in the field and found itself trailing 8-0 to Umpqua Valley Christian on Friday.
The fifth-seeded Brave never could recover and the No. 4 Monarchs eliminated them from the playoffs with an 8-1 quarterfinal win at Bill Gray Stadium at Legion Field.
Umpqua Valley Christian (25-3) will be on the road Tuesday for the semifinals against No. 1 Knappa (24-1). The Loggers, the two-time defending state champions, defeated No. 9 Regis of Stayton 9-1 Friday in the quarters.
The Monarchs are back in the semis for the first time since 2013, when they played in the championship game.
“It’s just great to be back in the final four,” UVC coach Dave York said. “This group of kids has earned it. They’re peaking at the right time and played really good baseball again today, and I was really proud of the effort.”
Reedsport (22-2) saw its 22-game winning streak come to an end.
Umpqua Valley Christian sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning, taking advantage of three hits, three walks, one hit batter and two Reedsport errors.
“One inning blowup — all eight unearned runs — that’s the story of the game,” Reedsport coach Jason Lavigne said. “That’s uncharacteristic of our baseball team ... we make very few errors, especially throwing errors. Maybe some nerves, is all I can add it up to.
“Falling eight behind is a lot to a solid baseball team. Umpqua Valley is a good baseball team and I hope they go beat Knappa.”
Both teams finished with four hits. Aaron Buechley got the decision for the Monarchs, allowing three hits and no earned runs over five innings. The senior right-hander struck out three and walked two.
Jacob Luther pitched the last two innings, allowing one hit and no runs. He fanned one and walked one.
“I was really excited to get (that 8-0 lead),” UVC centerfielder KC Pettibone said. “It got our confidence up and we kind of rode that the whole game. Everyone was into the game from the first to last inning.”
Buechley appreciated the run support early.
“Being able to put up a big lead in the first inning really set the tone for the rest of the game,” he said. “Not a lot of precision and location on my part today, but the defense played outstanding. I couldn’t have won it without them.”
Reedsport starter Tyler Thornton couldn’t make it through the first inning, only retiring one batter before being relieved by AJ Stoltey.
Jacob Luther reached base on a throwing error by Brave third baseman Kyle Barnes. Luther advanced to third on a wild pitch, then Kolby Mahoney drew a walk.
Following a strikeout, Pettibone stroked an RBI single to score Luther and Sam Guastaferro walked to load the bases.
Isaiah Heard hit a grounder to second baseman Jacob Chaney, who threw too late to home to get Mahoney.
Aaron Buechley followed with a two-run double to left-center field to make it 4-0. A walk to Jacob Mesa loaded the bases, and Evan Buechley drew a walk to force in a run.
Stoltey took over on the mound and gave up a two-run single to Luther. CJ Gale knocked in UVC’s final run of the inning on a groundout.
The Brave mounted a serious threat in the fifth, loading the bases with one out. But Aaron Buechley escaped major damage, giving up a sacrifice fly to Nick Glover before retiring Griffin Lavigne on a fielder’s choice.
Dallas McGill had the lone extra base-hit for the Brave, tripling off Luther to lead off the sixth. But he was left stranded as Luther retired the next three in order.
“Fantastic. Aaron (Buechley) was great on the mound and gave us what we needed,” York said. “That was our game plan going in, start Aaron and get Jacob (Luther) in relief. KC Pettibone was fantastic (defensively) in the outfield.”
The Monarchs will have all their top pitchers available for Knappa. Game time for Tuesday will be determined Saturday.
“It’s definitely a bounce-back I’m thankful for,” Aaron Buechley said. “Last year we didn’t get as far as we expected (losing in the first round). This year is pretty much on course. We’re looking forward to chasing the next one.”
Knappa was No. 2 in the coaches’ poll.
Reedsport 000 010 0 — 1 4 2
UVC 800 000 x — 8 4 1
Thornton, Stoltey (1) and Lavigne; A. Buechley, Luther (6) and Guastaferro. WP — Buechley. LP — Thornton. 2B — A. Buechley (UVC), Heard (UVC). 3B — McGill (R).