Kent All-Star teammates mob Patrick Sanchez, far left, after the shortstop hit a game-winning, walk-off home run against FME/Steel Lake in an elimination game Thursday at Sunset Park in Auburn. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Kent All-Star teammates mob Patrick Sanchez, far left, after the shortstop hit a game-winning, walk-off home run against FME/Steel Lake in an elimination game Thursday at Sunset Park in Auburn. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Shooting stars

Kent survives elimination game, plays for District 10 championship against rival Auburn on Saturday

Down a run in a game they had to have, the Kent All-Stars dramatically pulled one out to play for another day.

Patrick Sanchez drilled a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, lifting Kent past Fife-Milton-Edgewood (FME)/Steel Lake 3-2 in a Majors Division District 10 semifinal playoff game at Auburn’s Sunset Park on Thursday night.

Kent advances to play rival Auburn, defending district champion, in the championship game at noon Saturday at Sunset Park. Kent, which lost to Auburn 2-1 earlier in the double-elimination tournament, needs to win to force a second, winner-take-all game Saturday. Game 2, if needed, will start around 3 p.m.

Rain scrubbed the original 6 p.m. Friday start to Game 1.

FME/Steel Lake’s season came to an end.

At stake for Kent is pride and an elusive state berth. Kent hasn’t been to state for several seasons.

“Auburn’s a good team, without a doubt. It’s going to be tough to get through them,” said Kent manager Ernie Hernandez. “They have great pitching … great team. We know them. We played against them for the last three years through summer ball. … Good athletes over there. It’s going to be very competitive. It’s going to come down to pitching and defense.”

Against FME/Steel Lake, it came down to a swing of a bat.

After Zachary Hernandez led off with a single to right, Sanchez stepped to the plate to rip a line-drive shot that carried about 260 feet over the left-field fence. After trotting around the bases, teammates mobbed Sanchez at home plate.

“Very strong kid,” Ernie Hernandez said of his standout shortstop. “He’s been (hitting home runs) during the regular season, and his bat’s been hot throughout this whole tournament with a lot of base hits, line drives … as you can see.”

Kent put up two runs during a walk-filled first inning, but FME/Steel Lake scored two of its own to even it up.

Kent had its chances, leaving the bases loaded in the fourth and stranding two more base runners in the fifth.

Miles Ducharme beat out an infield single, scoring Eli Nordling from third base to give FME/Steel Lake a 2-1 lead in the sixth.

“My hat’s off to these guys here. Incredible. They played their heart out,” Ernie Hernandez said of FME/Steel Lake. “In my opinion, they probably could have won this game. Luckily, we had the last up (to bat).”

Elsewhere

Earlier in the tournament, Auburn defeated FME/Steel Lake 17-3 on Tuesday in a battle of unbeatens.

Tai Dumakilewe and Emilio Feliciano launched home runs and Landen Richards belted a grand slam for Auburn.

The Kent All-Stars’ Ethan Loghry delivers a pitch during his stout performance against FME/Steel Lake on Thursday. Loghry pitched into the sixth inning before reaching his 85-pitch limit. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

The Kent All-Stars’ Ethan Loghry delivers a pitch during his stout performance against FME/Steel Lake on Thursday. Loghry pitched into the sixth inning before reaching his 85-pitch limit. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

More in Sports

Royals get a hefty donation from Seahawks

After the Seattle Seahawks upgraded their state-of-the-art weight room at the Virginia… Continue reading

Muncey, Cakewalk score stakes wins

Muncey and hot-riding Javier Matias wore down Harbors Rule in the final… Continue reading

Kent-based T-Birds expect NHL in Seattle to boost crowds; youth hockey

‘It’s going to be a very good thing,’ team vice president says

Back on the ice: Thunderbirds open training camp Aug. 20

Preseason run includes scrimmages, full-length games

For You Only winning the Angie C Stakes. COURTESY TRACK PHOTO
WTBOA Lads, Barbara Shinpoch share Sunday spotlight

The Longacres Mile is in the books, but there are nine more… Continue reading

Law Abidin Citizen takes Longacres Mile thriller

Kentucky-bred 5-year-old captures $200,000 jewel at the wire

Stars to kick off 2019-2020 home opener on Nov. 30

The Tacoma Stars kick off their 2019-2020 home schedule at 7:05 p.m.… Continue reading

Kato back in the saddle at Emerald Downs

The amazing Akifumi Kato returns to Emerald Downs for a special riding… Continue reading

Kevin Orozco guides More Power to Him to victory in the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes for 3-year-olds and up Sunday at Emerald Downs. COURTESY TRACK PHOTO
Championship Sunday: Preview Day recap

More Power to Him surges to win in $50,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes; No Talking Back pulls upset in Boeing Stakes

Taste of international softball

Acers welcome touring Chinese Taipei Olympic women’s team to Kent

Oh Marvelous Me, left, scoring an allowance victory on Aug. 26, 2017, is the likely favorite in the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes for older horses. COURTESY TRACK PHOTO
Stakes quadruple-header set for Sunday

Mt. Rainier and Boeing stakes head 10-race card

Kent’s Bernard to drive Oberto Specialty Meats H1 Unlimited hydro

Test run set for Thursday on Lake Washington