PASCO – Kentwood coach Mark Zender couldn’t find fault with the way his team played. He didn’t think they played poorly or that they cost themselves the game.
Instead, he simply thought his team, which won the 4A state championship a year ago, lost in a 1-0 coin-flip game against South Kitsap in Friday’s Class 4A state semifinals.
“I told the guys that it really wasn’t a matter of us not playing well,” Zender said. “It was just a ball game either team could have won. A classic 1-0 game.
“They have a reason to hold their heads high.”
After South Kitsap took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on an RBI sac fly from Cody Wolfe, Kentwood had a couple of chances to tie or take the lead.
The best scoring opportunity came in the sixth inning. The Conquerors had two runners on with catcher Reese McGuire, a future first-round draft pick, at the plate. McGuire drew a walk that loaded the bases with two outs and brought up cleanup hitter Tanner Wessling.
But South Kitsap pitcher Michael Wood struck Wessling out and ended the threat. Wood pitched a complete game and had a four-inning stretch where he didn’t allow a hit.
“He’s done that the whole year,” South Kitsap coach Marcus Logue said.
Kentwood had one more chance in the seventh inning. Connor Sims singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Spencer Greene stepped to the plate with two outs and the tying run on second, but he struck out to end the game.
The Conquerors remained in the game because of pitcher Jordan Jones, a 6-foot-1 freshman who consistently worked out of jams. Jones pitched a complete game and scattered six hits while striking out seven.
“He’s poised and beyond his years in terms of his mental approach and his ability to deal with adversity and the situation,” Zender said. “We were playing this weekend to win the state championship, and we didn’t have any reason to believe Jordan wasn’t the guy to get us to that game.”
Kentwood will play the loser of Kentridge and Skyview at 1 p.m. tomorrow, while South Kitsap will play the winner of that game at 7 p.m. for the Class 4A state title.