Going into the seventh inning, Newport High School senior pitcher Ryan Kingma was on the verge of tossing a no-hitter on Friday in the Class 4A state semifinals against Gig Harbor.
Gig Harbor junior catcher Jon Burdghart had other ideas.
Burdghart broke up the no-hitter with a towering home run to right field, but it wasn’t enough as the Tides fell to the Knights, 4-1.
Kingma didn’t really think about the no-hitter until he came out to the mound for the final inning. He tried to test Burghardt with a first-pitch fastball, which proved to be a mistake.
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“I decided to see how far he could hit it, and that was a bad decision on my part,” Kingma said, laughing.
Burghardt took Kingma to the warning track earlier in the game. The second time, there was no question about where the ball was headed.
“I knew since he had a lead, he was going to throw a fastball,” Burghardt said. “So I was just looking fastball first pitch. I hit it out of the park, so it felt pretty good.”
Gig Harbor senior pitcher Matthew Henckel gave up only one hit over six innings, but three errors and five walks proved costly for the Tides. Gig Harbor junior pitcher Alex Morford pitched the seventh and gave up the final two runs.
“(Henckel) had a first inning where he threw a lot of pitches,” Gig Harbor coach Pete Jansen said. “But he battled back. He pitched great. We talked with the kids out there. You get all these teams that are really good; you’ve got to play defense.”
Tides hitters were confused by Kingma all night. Burghardt said he believed it was just an off game.
“He was locating his fastball well and his off-speed was good,” Burghardt said. “We just struggled. The big game got to us a little bit; we were a little timid to swing.”
Tides bounce back to take third
A good recipe for bouncing back from a tough loss: Throwing another Division-I bound lefty ace on the mound.
This time, it was junior Michael Toglia’s turn in the Class 4A state baseball tournament consolation final on Saturday. Toglia pitched five strong innings, only giving up one run, and Gig Harbor picked up a 3-1 win over Decatur, securing a third-place finish in state.
“It was a great way to end the season, finishing on a positive note,” Toglia said. “It’s a good thank you note to our seniors and to our coaching staff.”
While the Tides were disappointed to finish short of the state title, the third-place finish lifted the spirits of the players and coaches.
“It’s been a great year,” Toglia said. “It’s a little disappointing to be this close and be one game away from the championship, but all in all, we had a great season. I’m proud of my team and proud of myself. I’m just proud of everything we accomplished.”
Gig Harbor got some valuable production from the bottom of its order in the third inning. Junior Patrick Fletcher led off with a double down the right field line and junior Neal Hassan followed with an RBI double.
“I kind of jumped on it and hit it the other way, so that was nice,” Fletcher said about his triple. “Whether (Gig Harbor coach Pete) Jansen had his hands up or not, I was going. I was getting three.”
A few walks later, the Tides led 3-0 and never looked back.
Gig Harbor finished with a 21-7 record.