The Kentwood High School Conquerors started their 2023 playoff campaign with a win over the Union Titans 1-0 in the first round of the West Central District Tournament.
“It was tough, but our team pulled through and we always find a way,” Conqueror third baseman Sarah Rothenberger said.
It was Kentwood’s 15th win in a row and for first-year head Coach Sydney Eacret it’s all about hitting their stride at the right time. The district tournament was played last week at the Kent Service Club Ballfields.
“We talked all season about wanting to peak at the right time and we’ve hit that point,” she said.
The Conks have a star in junior Sarah Wright on the mound who dominated for Kentwood. The verbal University of Arizona commit allowed one hit in the game and struck out seventeen batters. Hanging zeros is nothing new for Wright as she hasn’t allowed a run to score since March.
Wright came into this week ready to work.
“She came up to me and said I’m ready to go coach.. She’s had this intensity about her all week,” her coach said.
There were a couple nervous jitters for the Conks in their first playoff game.
“They’re coming in a little nervous this year. I think the hard part for them is you didn’t really know what to expect,” Eacret said.
The Conks were held to just one run, something that hasn’t happened since March 25. However Kentwood did get out to a good start with their first three batters producing the lone run of the ballgame.
After the game, the Conks discussed how to make adjustments to improve their offense.
“Our girls were just really hesitant on that outside pitch. We just had to get them to a point of being more aggressive on that pitch…Going into our next game I’m really excited to see that adjustment,” Eacret said.
Wright gave up the one hit in the top of the first, and after that single retired 18 out of 19 Titans to close out the game. After the first inning Wright walked a batter in the sixth which was the only Titan to reach base. Wright didn’t allow a Union base runner to touch second base.
“That’s a scrappy win, but we got it done,”Eacret said.
With the one-run win, the Conks took on Rogers High School out of Puyallup. To begin the year the Rams took down Kentwood 2-1. The game was back on March 14 and it was the first time the Conks had stepped foot as a team outside.
“Our team is pumped, we want redemption. We want to kick their butts,” Rothenberger said.
The game didn’t go the Conks way as they split their first two games of the day and lost to Rogers 4-1 in a winner-to-state game. The Conks beat Sumner in a loser-out game and beat Olympia 4-2 in a winner-to-state game on May 20.
Kentwood opens the Class 4A state tournament Friday, May 26 in Richland against Emerald Ridge.