Puyallup sophomore Brendan Illies struck out 10 in a five-hitter as the top-ranked Vikings beat the No. 3 Conquerors for the SPSL championship.
KENT — Catcher Reese McGuire had a reminder for his teammates Thursday night after the third-ranked Conquerors lost the SPSL 4A baseball championship to top-ranked Puyallup at Kent Memorial Park, 2-1.
The same thing happened last year, and things worked out just fine in the long run. Kentwood turned the tables when it counted, beating the Vikings for the state title.
“Our focus right now is that we’re still in it,” said McGuire, who is expected to be a first-round draft pick next month.
Puyallup (19-2) broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth as Quinn Rawson drilled a two-out, RBI double to right. It was one of few mistakes by junior pitcher Kade Kryzsko, who scattered six hits and struck out seven.
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The Conquerors (17-4), with just four returning starters and an entirely new pitching staff, left the tying run at second base with McGuire on deck. He finished 1 for 3 with his 10th double of the season, which factored into Kentwood’s lone run.
Puyallup sophomore Brendan Illies struck out 10 in tossing a five-hitter, giving up just one hit over the final four innings.
Each team pushed a run across in the first. Mike Ciancio scored for Kentwood after singling and moving to third on McGuire’s double. He raced home on Tanner Wessling’s ground ball to third as McGuire got caught in a rundown.
The Vikings answered as Levi Jordan and Darian Clemens opened with back-to-back singles, and Rawson’s towering infield fly ball fell in, allowing Jordan to get home.
Kryzsko pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the third with a strikeout and double play, which he started off a comebacker.
Puyallup will open West Central District play Tuesday against the loser of Friday’s Narrow’s League final between No. 10 Olympia and South Kitsap. Kentwood faces Heritage of Vancouver, the No. 2 team out of the Greater St. Helen’s League.
Emerald Ridge 7, Kentridge 6 (12 innings)
Garrett Metz stroked a two-out, two-run double to right-center in the bottom of the 12th to lift the fifth-ranked Jaguars (18-3). They advance to district as the No. 3 seed and play the Narrows champion.
Kentridge (16-4), which had a seven-game win streak snapped, moves on as the No. 4 SPSL seed and faces seventh-ranked Skyview of Vancouver. Skyview rallied for six runs in the bottom of the seventh to beat Heritage in the championship game of the GSHL tournament on Thursday, 6-4.
Auburn Riverside 10, Rogers 0
Noah Freelund and Brady Cummings combined on a five-inning no-hitter for the Ravens (13-8), who piled up 10 hits. Both teams advance to district.