Mac McCarty couldn’t tell if his teammates were being serious or not.
When the South Kitsap High School junior walked to the plate in the fifth inning of Saturday’s Class 4A regional baseball final against Kentridge, McCarty heard one message from the dugout: “Hey, just go hit a bomb.”
With one swing, McCarty turned a 1-0 deficit around. His two-run home run proved to be a game-winner as South Kitsap knocked off Kentridge, 2-1, at Kent Memorial Field.
Finishing second at state last season, the Wolves are a win away from returning to the title game. South Kitsap (21-5) draws Wenatchee in the semifinals Friday at Gesa Stadium in Pasco.
The Wolves’ season might have ended Saturday if not for McCarty’s blast.
“That was a great moment in my life,” said McCarty, whose team beat Lake Stevens, 5-2, earlier in the day in the semifinal round. “I felt it coming off the bat. It felt pretty good.”
South Kitsap trailed in both games Saturday. In the early game, Lake Stevens (16-8) scored two runs off Wolves starter Logan Knowles, who was pulled in favor of McCarty with one out in the third. McCarty allowed just one hit and struck out seven batters in his 42/3 innings of work to keep South Kitsap in it.
The Wolves’ offense finally broke through in the fifth inning, scoring four runs. With the bases loaded and no outs, Tyler Pinkerton made it 2-1 on a sacrifice fly to right field. Tanner Paulson then tied the score on a single.
Lake Stevens chose to replace starter Branden Kelliher with reliever Nick Hoskins. South Kitsap’s next hitter, Hunter Riley, greeted Hoskins with a two-RBI double, putting the Wolves ahead 4-2.
With McCarty unavailable to pitch in the championship game, South Kitsap coach Marcus Logue tabbed junior Cooper Canton to start against Kentridge (18-9).
“I was ready for the challenge,” Canton said.
Serving as the team’s No. 3 starter during the regular season, Canton didn’t disappoint. He pitched a complete game, allowing one run on three hits while striking out five.
He seemed to get stronger after Kentridge, which beat Eastlake, 7-0, in its semifinal game, took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI double by Joe Wainhouse.
Cascade (Everett) 8, Gig Harbor 4: Matthew Henkel struggled in his third start of the season for the Tides after undergoing knee surgery each of the past two years, and that was all Cascade needed to jump on Gig Harbor early.
The Tides (16-10) were hoping for their first state victory since it won the 4A title in 1996, but they spotted Cascade a 5-1 lead after two innings.
Gig Harbor loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning with no outs, but didn’t score. Cascade added two runs in the bottom of the inning to extend the lead to 8-4.
Woodinville 12, Todd Beamer 0: Jerry Peterson said his Titans ran into a tough team at the wrong time.
Woodinville pitcher Alex Worthington (7-1) pitched a one-hit shutout, and Beamer (16-7) was plagued by walks and big hits from the Falcons as it lost in its second regional appearance in school history.
Staff writer TJ Cotterill contributed to this report.