Dominic DesMarais pitches at T-Mobile Park against Lake Washington. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Dominic DesMarais pitches at T-Mobile Park against Lake Washington. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Kentridge snatches victory from jaws of defeat inside T-Mobile Park

Clutch hitting from Owen Finlayson along with solid pitching gives KR late life against Lake Washington.

A chance to play at an MLB ballpark is nothing to take lightly, and the Kentridge High School baseball team took full advantage of their opportunity.

“It is fun every year. It is cool to see all the guys having a good time. We try to get everybody in the game and just the smiles on their faces is so fun to see,” Head Coach Sheldon Stober said.

As part of a fundraiser, the Chargers get to play on the field where their idols play 81 games this season.

Since coming out of the pandemic, Kentridge has played three games at T-Mobile and has lost all three. The Chargers defeated the Lake Washington Kangs, 3-2, with some late inning heroics on April 6 inside T-Mobile Park.

“It was a blast, that was awesome,” Stober said.

Kentridge employed the pitch by committee strategy for their non-league contest against a Lake Washington team that is first in 3A KingCo. The Chargers pitching staff has allowed two or fewer runs in five of 10 games so far this year. Only Mount Rainier has had more games with allowing opponents to score two runs or less (8).

The Chargers staff is tied with Kennedy and Tahoma for second in the NPSL.

Pitching inside T-Mobile Park is such a special occasion for these athletes. It is an event they will never forget and Stober wanted to give as many kids an opportunity as he could. Fifteen different Chargers were able to play in the seven-inning game.

“We threw strikes and when you throw strikes you have a chance. We might have had only two walks today. When you do that you give yourself a chance to win. They did that today,” Stober said.

Scoring runs hasn’t been a problem for the Chargers so far this year. They have scored four or more runs in seven games so far this season. But against Lake Washington, the Chargers could just muster three runs, and it even seemed like they were going to be held to just one.

After giving up a run in the first inning, Kentridge needed a little luck to get their first run of the game. Ricardo del Fierro hit a one-out single in the top of the third inning and reached third on an error by Lake Washington. On the ensuing at-bat, Ethan Sugimoto laced a groundball down the third baseline, scoring del Fierro to tie the game.

Lake Washington took the lead in the sixth inning, and Kentridge’s lone base runners were del Fierro and Sugimoto, who both drew walks, until the seventh inning.

In that seventh inning, Riley Lambarena and Donovan Lopez drew back-to-back walks to threaten the two run Lake Washington lead. Owen Finlayson stepped up with two out and was the last hope for Kentridge.

With one strike on him, he hit a fly ball to shallow right center field, and the Kang right fielder missed the ball, allowing Lambarena and Lopez to score. Winning the game at a stadium like this is never the goal for a team, but when a competitive atmosphere presents itself, that is all the more fun for all parties.

“It was exciting, winning is just a bonus… We try not to think about winning, but to get to the seventh inning in a close game is very exciting,” Stober said.

Manny Harris entered for the save and sat down the Lake Washington batters in order on a trio of flyouts.

The Chargers sit in first place with a 3-1 league record and a 8-2 overall record. They don’t have much wiggle room at the top, with Mount Rainier, Kennedy and Tahoma all having three losses on the year. The Chargers have already swept the Rams and close out the year with Tahoma and Kennedy Catholic.

Stober couldn’t put a finger on why the Chargers were having success. But it stems from doing the right things at the right time, the right way. Along with maybe a little bit of good fortune.

“We have been competing at the plate, thrown strikes and fielding the ball. When you do that, you give yourself a chance…Honestly it might be a little luck, it has worked our way and they have gotten better and better each day,” Stober said.

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Kentridge participated in the High School Baseball Classic at T-Mobile Park against the Lake Washington Kangs. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Kentridge participated in the High School Baseball Classic at T-Mobile Park against the Lake Washington Kangs. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Ethan Sugimoto gets ready to hit at T-Mobile Park against Lake Washington. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Ethan Sugimoto gets ready to hit at T-Mobile Park against Lake Washington. Ben Ray / The Reporter

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