PUYALLUP – Joe Wainhouse doesn’t want the ride to end.
So, the Kentridge High School’s all-time home run leader gave a fastball a long ride Saturday to help keep the season alive and ensure the Chargers of a third straight trip to the 4A state baseball playoffs.
Wainhouse’s 10th homer of the season, and 24th of his prep career, was a 400-foot, three-run bomb in the fifth inning that keyed a 5-1 victory over Tahoma in a consolation game of the West Central District tournament at Heritage Park.
The Chargers (17-8) then drilled Gig Harbor, 22-4, to earn the No. 5 seed. They open the state tournament next Saturday against Eastlake, the KingCo champion, at Art Wright Field in Kent. Gig Harbor (17-9) advances as the sixth seed and travels to Everett to play Cascade, the WesCo champ.
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Wainhouse, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound senior first baseman, doubled in a run in the first inning and also earned his third save of the year by pitching a scoreless seventh. He has signed with Ole Miss, and could be taken in next month’s draft, but is focused on the here and now – especially after a losing to Battle Ground in the first round of the tournament.
“This team’s been together since we were 10, 11 years old,” said Wainhouse, whose father, Dave, was a major-league pitcher with multiple teams – including the Mariners – in the 1990s. “We played rec ball together, and we just all kind of wanted to come together and make sure this didn’t come to an end.”
Kentridge led just 1-0 going into the fifth and when the first two batters reached base, there seemed to be little suspense about what Wainhouse would do, especially with a 2-0 count.
“There wasn’t one guy in our dugout who was surprised he hit it out,” coach John Flaningan said.
Kentridge 22, Gig Harbor 4
Taylor Poffenroth smashed a grand slam to highlight a nine-run seventh inning.
Union 8, Tahoma 2
The banged-up Bears (16-8) were out of pitching and couldn’t muster enough offense to claim the district’s seventh and final seed to state.