It was nothing personal against the fine folks from down south.
Or, for that matter, it was nothing against the Hazen High baseball team.
Auburn right-hander Colton Brown simply had no desire to travel — and all the fire in the world to prove to anyone watching, he is, in fact, that good.
A week after dominating Auburn Riverside with a personal-best 16 strikeout performance, Brown was back at it Saturday in a South Puget Sound League Seamount sub-district playoff game against Hazen.
This time, the lanky fireballer was just as good, if not better, allowing just two hits and whiffing 17 Highlanders, leading Auburn past Hazen, 4-0.
“I was just trying to not travel to Vancouver,” said Brown, pointing out the fact that the loser of the game had to go south to open the district tournament on Tuesday. “There’s just been a lot of talk that I am not this good and that kind of (ticks) me off. I’ve been trying to prove to people that they should watch what they say.”
With the win, Auburn (13-5) earned the sub-district’s No. 3 seed to the West Central District 3/Southwest District 4 tournament, which began Tuesday. The Trojans opened the tournament against Timerbline (results unavailable).Against Hazen, Brown got all the offense he would need in the second inning, when Garrett Rutledge launched a solo home run to left-center field, giving Auburn an early 1-0 lead.
Brown then went into shutdown mode.
In his last 14 innings of work, Brown now has struck out 33 batters and allowed just six hits.
“Man, he’s lights out,” catcher Kyle Buchanan said. “His fastball is upper 80s, his slider is on, his changeup is moving. He’s just devastating.
“It makes everything better. I just hope when we get further in the playoffs, we can put up a few more runs because we’re not going to shut everybody out.”
Brown got the job done with the bat as well, going 3 for 3.
It was Auburn’s sixth win in its last seven games.
Auburn Riverside 5, Highline 4
The Ravens (16-7) used six different pitchers, keeping the Pirates off balance all afternoon on Saturday to claim the SPSL 3A/Seamount League sub-district No. 5 seed.
“It was a seeding game that we wanted to win, but also honor kids who haven’t played a lot,” said Auburn Riverside coach Chris Garrison, explaining his decision to use six pitchers. “We thought that was the most important thing to do. We have kids who have worked really hard and we want to honor those guys.”
Cam Fairfield picked up the win on the mound for the Ravens, who advanced to the West Central District 3/Southwest District 4 tournament and played Port Angeles, the Olympic League’s No. 2 seed, on Tuesday (results unavailable).
Tied at 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning, the Ravens erupted for four runs to essentially put the game away. Lead-off hitter led the way for Auburn Riverside, going 2 for 4 with a pair of runs scored. Shortstop Josh Hudson also enjoyed a solid afternoon, going 1 for 3 with one run scored and one RBI.
It was Riverside’s third win in a row.
Despite the win, the Ravens got some bad news last week, when they learned third baseman Zack Gagnon, will not be able to return to the field this season. Gagnon broke his left hand April 9 after being hit by a pitch against Auburn. Gagnon had hoped to return for the playoffs.
“He wanted to play, was trying to show me he could do things … but his doctor said he could hurt the hand worse if he played,” Garrison said.