The Kentridge High School Chargers kept their baseball season alive in convincing fashion with a 10-3 win over the Bethel Bison on May 9 in the District 4A tournament.
“These guys have had so much energy all year and we knew we had to fight today. They put up that three spot on us, then we had a five spot in the sixth. I couldn’t be more excited,” said coach Sheldon Stober.
Kentridge, however, lost to Federal Way, 3-1, in a loser-out game in the next round of the playoffs on May 10.
Prior to losing to Federal Way, Kentridge had won five games in a row and scored double digits in its last three. A team that at one point lost eight of nine games this season found itself two wins away from advancing to the state tournament.
“We have such a young squad Kaden (Barnes) was the only senior out in the field. We have a bunch of freshman and sophomores and a couple juniors, the camaraderie these guys have is fantastic, “ Stober said.
The Chargers are an extremely young team with only three seniors on the roster. But two of them made an immediate impact on this game. Barnes started on the mound for the Chargers and gave them a brilliant outing.
“He was fantastic. He’s been a bulldog on the mound all year. He’s been our guy all year. I wouldn’t even let him take batting practice yesterday, because I told him ‘You gotta throw strikes and win us a ball game.’ He just freaking dominated,” Stober said.
The first runs of the game came in the first inning when Connor Vanderhoof smacked a three-run home run into left center field.
“It settled the nerves a little bit, but they got that three spot in the third so it was a closer game,” Stober said.
That three spot in the first spurred runs in the next two innings as well. Teegan O’Brian drove in Ricardo Del Fierro for the fourth run of the game in the second and in the third Del Fierro had an RBI single of his own which scored Rylan Gullard.
In the third, the Bison scored their only runs of the game. With one out a run scored on a sacrifice fly and two more came around on a double. After the third Bethel didn’t record another hit against Barnes. In the seventh, reliever Lucas Wilson gave up two singles and held the Bison off the scoreboard while striking out three.
“Kaden was pumping today. He was doing great,” said O’Brien, the catcher.
The big inning game in the sixth for the Chargers where they scored five runs. The five spot was encouraging for the Chargers because they kept their foot on the gas. Seven consecutive Kentridge batters reached base with one out in the inning.
“It’s just fantastic. You can’t ask for anything more. We are so young and or those kids to keep having that demeanor to be up there and have no fear, I just couldn’t ask for anymore,” said Stober.
Ethan Sugimoto started the rally scoring Donovan Lopez, Austin Nelson followed Sugimoto with a double for another Kentridge run. Three batters later Lucas Wilson drove in Gullard and Nelson. Capping the scoring in the Del Fierro added to his RBI total scoring Vanderhoof for the firth run of the frame.
“You go out there and take your chance. You never know what’s going to happen. We just kept pushing,” O’Brien said.