With the Class 4A South Puget Sound League North Division baseball title hanging in the balance entering the final two weeks of the regular season, the team from Kentridge High School couldn’t have picked a much better time to start hitting the cover off the ball.
The second-place Chargers entered Monday’s matchup with first-place Tahoma having scored a combined 39 runs in their previous three games.
The barrage continued as Kentridge had 14 hits in a 19-5 victory over the Bears — a game called after six innings.
“We want to be aggressive in the strike zone — that’s our thing,” Kentridge coach John Flanigan said. “The beauty of us is that (batters) 1 through 9 are tough. There is no break for the (opposing) pitcher.”
The win puts Kentridge (12-4 overall, 11-2 SPSL North) in command for the division title with two games left — the Chargers also beat Tahoma (14-4, 11-3) on April 7, 1-0.
The offense didn’t take long to get charged up Monday afternoon against Tahoma starter Mitchell Grove. Kentridge scored a run in the first inning, added two more in the second, and then exploded for six in the third, running out to a 9-0 lead. After the Bears cut the lead to 10-5 after five innings, the Chargers erupted for nine runs in the sixth to put things out of reach.
“We had the league title kind of on the line tonight, (so) we were just looking to take advantage and get out of here early,” said sophomore Matt Fleming, who went 4-for-4 with a double, home run and 4 RBIs.
Tahoma put itself in a big hole early, and did itself no favors on defense. The Bears committed four errors, and the pitching staff walked eight Kentridge batters.
“I’m not exactly sure what happened,” Tahoma coach Russ Hayden said. “We just kind of fell apart in pretty much every aspect of the game. That’s the worst beating I can ever remember us taking since we went 4A back in 1998.”
Coming off a third-place finish at state last season and with a large chunk of the team returning, the Chargers have used solid defense and steady pitching to complement their offense.
“We came in with a lot of confidence and a lot of guys coming back,” Flanigan said.
Fleming crushed a solo shot in the fourth, and senior Isaiah Terry had a two-run blast in the second inning. Ole Miss recruit Joe Wainhouse, who has six home runs this season, added two hits and a pair of RBIs.
“We needed a guy to protect Joe,” Flanigan said. “Coming into this year, we weren’t sure who that guy was going to be. We threw (Fleming) in there and he’s been outstanding.”
The Chargers close out the week with games against Mount Rainier and Auburn — teams they’ve already beaten once this year. Tahoma has a pair of tough games with Thomas Jefferson and Kentwood.