The Monroe baseball team gathers after a win over Silas in the opening round of the 3A state tournament on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in Monroe. (Evan Wiederspohn / The Herald)

The Monroe baseball team gathers after a win over Silas in the opening round of the 3A state tournament on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in Monroe. (Evan Wiederspohn / The Herald)

Monroe beats Silas, advances to 3A state round of 16

The Bearcats jump out to an early lead and receive strong pitching in a 6-1 opening-round win over the Rams.

MONROE — Following a pair of losses on its home field during the district tournament, the Monroe High School baseball team got back to its winning ways on Tuesday night during a Class 3A opening round loser-out contest against visiting Silas of Tacoma.

The 15th-seeded Bearcats used a three-run first inning and polished through the remaining frames to secure a 6-1 win, moving on to face No. 2 Lincoln (Seattle) in the round of 16 at Bellevue College on Saturday at 10 a.m. in another loser-out matchup.

Before clinching a state berth on May 13 with a victory over Stanwood, Monroe (19-6) dropped games at home to Shorewood on May 6 and Ferndale on May 11 before coming up with a win in the most important game of the season thus far.

“In those first two playoffs games we didn’t attack them like we wanted to,” Monroe coach Ben Andrews. “So to be able come back and reset in that way, against a good team, on a great field. .. It’s definitely some redemption.”

Monroe came out aggressive at the plate in the opening inning, as senior Eli Miller dropped in a double on a full count, setting up junior Harlan Rowe, who doubled to plate two runners. Junior Ethan Hogan helped tack on another run with an RBI single.

Senior Connor Campbell drew the start on the mound and went five innings, throwing 71 pitches, and allowed one run before being swapped out in the sixth for lefty Skyler Lynch, a senior.

“One of the keys for us was Connor coming out and doing his thing right off the bat just like he has been,” Andrews said. “He got a little tired there at the end, but he was in the zone all day, continuing to attack ‘em.”

The Rams (14-9) gave the Bearcats a slight scare in the sixth, as leadoff hitter Andrew Hobson doubled, drawing runners on second and third with no outs. On the following at-bat, junior infielder Bryce Niemi gloved a shot to left field and slung a throw to home, where Carson Weigel was tagged out. An RBI single from Jack Phillips made it 3-1.

After Lynch took over on the mound, he struck out two and walked one to close out the frame as Silas left runners stranded on all three bases.

“Skyler was hurt for us to start the year,” Andrews said. “So it’s great to have him back, he’s a strike-thrower. .. He can switch it up a little bit and he’s a great tool to have back.”

Monroe is in the midst of their second state tournament run in the last 27 years.

“That’s what we do it for,” Andrews said. “That’s what we’ve told our kids. It seems like it’s been awhile for Monroe, so we’re kinda on house money right now. This is exactly what you want to play high school baseball for, to go up against some of the best at Bellevue on Saturday. .. It’s exactly what we want.”

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