PASCO — The execution was flawless, the result perfection.
Puyallup completed its season with a 28-0 record and a 4A state baseball championship, the first in school history.
Senior right-hander Lane Griffin ran his record to 10-0, allowing one run in six innings, to beat South Kitsap 7-1.
For South Kitsap (20-5), it was the third straight loss to Puyallup this season and the second straight season the Wolves have finished second in state.
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“It’s just surreal,” Griffin said after extricating himself from the bottom of a jubilant Puyallup dogpile in front of home plate at Gesa Stadium. “The thought of winning a state championship has been ever present since our freshman year, at every workout, every game. Sometimes we hit, sometimes we pitch. Today we put it all together.”
Puyallup coach Marc Weise admitted it was a relief, both to get the first state championship and finish undefeated.
“It was more than worth the wait to do it this way,” Weise said. “It’s been 19 years and we’ve been a top program for a long time and we finally got the monkey off our back.”
The Vikings built a 2-0 lead with runs in the first and second innings and then scored five times in the third inning to take much of the drama out of the quest for the perfect season.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Griffin said. “I had a lot of confidence, especially after we put up that five-spot.”
Griffin took a two-hit shutout into the sixth inning, but gave up a double to Logan Knowles and a run-scoring single by Mac McCarty. Another single by Tanner Paulson and a walk loaded the bases before Griffin got out of the jam with a strikeout, only his second of the game.
South Kitsap coach Marcus Logue wasn’t happy about taking second place for the second year in a row.
“We got to where we wanted to be, we just didn’t finish,” Logue said. “We felt like we hit the ball and hit it hard, but it was going right to them and they were making plays. There’s a reason they are undefeated. Today’s the first game where we’ve shown a little bit of nerves.”
South Kitsap finished with three errors, and Puyallup’s big inning featured four hits and three straight ground-ball singles to right field.
“We felt confident coming in, but they had timely hitting,” Logue said. “We hit the ball hard, just to the wrong spots.”
Wenatchee 5, Woodinville 3
A day after nearly upsetting undefeated Puyallup, Woodinville (15-10) ended its season with a loss to Wenatchee.
First-year coach Alan Dillman said he hated to use the 3-2 loss to Puyallup as an excuse, but admitted it definitely played a role in the game that gives Wenatchee (17-9) third place and Woodinville fourth.
“To play an emotional game like that and have to turn around and play the next morning, it’s tough,” Dillman said.
Wenatchee scored all five of its runs in the third inning when the Panthers bunched together six of their eight hits.The key blow was a pinch-hit double by Danny Gonzalez that drove in two runs.
Brent Donlan had three hits, a double and two RBI for Woodinville and Drew Accimus chipped in with two hits.