BASEBALL | Puyallup stymies South Kitsap bats in district finale

South Kitsap junior right-hander Mac McCarty and his teammates finished as the West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament runner-ups after a 10-0 loss Saturday against Puyallup at Kent Memorial. - Jeff Rhodes Photo
South Kitsap junior right-hander Mac McCarty and his teammates finished as the West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament runner-ups after a 10-0 loss Saturday against Puyallup at Kent Memorial.
— image credit: Jeff Rhodes Photo

KENT — South Kitsap’s season reached its pinnacle after losing against Puyallup in the Class 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district championship game last year.

They can only hope for a similar result after they suffered the same result to the Vikings — a 10-0 loss in five innings Saturday night — for the district title at Kent Memorial.

The Wolves (19-5), who play Lake Stevens at 10 a.m. Saturday to open regionals at Kent Memorial, won three consecutive games to reach the state championship game last year following their setback at districts.

“Lake Stevens is a good team — they’re a great team,” South coach Marcus Logue said. “But we’re playing the pinnacle [Puyallup]. You’re able to reflect and go back and see what they did to us.

“We’ve got to have a good week of practice, work on the little details and shore up some things. It really shows you how the little things that they do … they will exploit you if you don’t match their level.”

South, which defeated Battle Ground, 6-1, on Saturday morning at Kent Memorial for its ninth consecutive win, generated just two hits off right-handed Puyallup starter Lane Griffin. One of those came when center fielder Logan Knowles led off the game with a single.

That enabled the Vikings (24-0) to take a patient approach against right-handed starter Mac McCarty in an effort to run up his pitch count. While Puyallup did not score any runs or produce a hit in the first two innings against McCarty, they forced him to throw 47 pitches.

“I thought we had a good approach,” Puyallup coach Marc Wiese said. “Our plan was to try and get the pitch count up.”

The patient approach worked in the third inning when outfielder Tyler McDowell, who signed with Washington State, hit a two-out double to right-center field that scored first baseman Quinn Rawson. A New Mexico signee, Rawson reached base earlier in the inning with a walk.

It was just the start as the Vikings added five more runs in the fourth inning. With two outs, McCarty walked the bases loaded and then saw Rawson hit a shallow two-RBI single to center field. Knowles, who knew Rawson had eight RBI during a 15-2 win Saturday morning against Todd Beamer, said he was surprised on the hit.

“He hit two home runs early,” he said. “The plan was to play him back. It’s just the way things fall sometimes.”

Outfielder Darian Clemens followed with an RBI single to right-center field and McDowell hit a two-run double to center field during the ensuing at-bat. Second baseman Zach Needham lined out to McCarty to end the inning.

“That’s what a team like that does,” Knowles said. “They just wear you down with their fundamentals. They shoot [hits] middle all game long and it works. At some point the gates open up.”

When asked about the umpire’s strike zone that appeared inconsistent, Logue said it hurt McCarty, who allowed only one earned run this season entering the game.

“It was literally like the zone got pretty small,” he said. “Right when that happened that’s when they had the big inning. He forced them into a situation where he’s going to give them pitches that they want to hit and that’s the type of team that’s going to exploit that.”

Puyallup’s two-out production continued into the fifth inning off reliever Cooper Canton. With the bases loaded and no outs, shortstop Levi Jordan hit a two-run double to left field. The bases later were reloaded with a one-out intentional walk to Rawson. Clemens then lined out to third base, but McDowell followed with a two-RBI single to left field to put the mercy rule into effect.

Puyallup 10, South Kitsap 0 (5)

South Kitsap   000      00        -           0          2          1

Puyallup          001      54        -           10        9          0

Mac McCarty, Cooper Canton (5) and Tyler Pinkerton. Lane Griffin and Brendan Illies.

W-Griffin. L-McCarty.

Leading hitters-Levi Jordan (P) 2-4 2B 2 runs 2 RBI, Quinn Rawson (P) 1-2 2 BB 2 runs 2 RBI, Tyler McDowell (P) 3-3 BB 2 2B 5 RBI.

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