Behind Levi Jordan’s late-game heroics, Class 4A powerhouse Puyallup defeated defending 3A state champion Auburn Mountainview 9-8 on Saturday in the final game of the High School Baseball Classic at Safeco Field.
The nationally ranked Vikings improved to 15-0, while the Lions fell to 10-5.
The teams appeared to enjoy the chance to play at a major league ballpark.
And they put on a show.
With the Vikings trailing, 7-5, in the bottom of the sixth, Puyallup loaded the bases for hot-hitting shortstop Jordan. He quickly fell behind 0-2 before he stepped out to regroup.
“When I fell behind, I just told myself to shorten my swing,” Jordan said. “I was looking for fastball and reacting to everything else.”
Two pitches later, Jordan roped a one-out fastball just high enough over the shortstop to left-center field, bringing in two runs and tying the score at 7.
“Our offense comes from the bench. … We always know if we can stay in the game, we have a chance,” Jordan said.
Jordan finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored for the Vikings, ranked No. 1 in 4A.
A suicide squeeze from Brendan Illies and an error put Puyallup ahead, 9-7, entering the seventh.
“It’s great that we got the win. … They needed a challenge like that today,” Puyallup coach Marc Wiese said. “(The Lions) really barreled some up on us today.”
Auburn Mountainview, ranked No. 8 in 3A, wouldn’t go quietly. After Jacob Heglund hit the first Lions batter, he settled down and got two outs before Wiese brought in hard-throwing Lane Griffin for the final out.
The Lions were able to load the bases before Josh Swanson drew a walk to cut the deficit to 9-8. A groundout to Jordan ended the game.
“In my book, it’s a win,” Lions outfielder Mason Cerrillo said. “We outhit them today, and we could have had a few more runs. … For us, it was about getting the experience of playing and the experience to play a team like them.”
Cerrillo had three hits and knocked in two runs.
Auburn Mountainview scored four runs in the first inning off Illies, making his first start of the season. He was pulled in the second inning after throwing about 60 pitches.
“He’s a little rusty right now, but we’ll get him back out there next week,” Wiese said.
Kentwood’s Derrick Bell, Bailey Paladin, Ivan Semerenko and Brandon Stribling won the boys 4x100-meter relay in 42.78 seconds at the Pasco Invitational.
W.F. West’s Nike McClure, hoping to take home the Class 2A girls state shot put title later this spring, had a winning throw of 43 feet, 9 inches.
The Hanford boys (50 points) and Kamiakin girls (109.2) won team titles. The Todd Beamer boys finished seventh with 28 points, and the Bethel girls were eighth with 23.
Ta’Mara Richey had a big day, winning three events and leading defending Class 4A girls champion Federal Way to the team title at the Oregon Relays in Eugene.
The Eagles won the co-ed championship with 111.5 points after the boys’ third-place finish.
Richey won the 100-meter dash in 12.51, the long jump in 18-6 and the triple jump in 36-53/4.
With 571/2 points, the Eagles edged runners-up Summit and Camas (50).
Emerald Ridge’s ShaRaya Quinn won the 100 hurdles in 14.54 and set a meet record of 43.86 in taking the 300 hurdles.
The Gig Harbor boys team placed fifth with 30 points.