Avery Jones’ Gig Harbor baseball season, and career, is over, but the rest of the Tides have one more game to play.
The Washington State University-bound senior struck out 10 batters and gave up only three hits in Gig Harbor’s 5-0 win against Edmonds-Woodway at Safeco Field on Friday, sending the Tides to Saturday’s 3A state championship game.
Jones, who pitched all seven innings, said he won’t pitch Saturday, and understandably so.
Instead, Patrick Fredrickson will take the mound in the game that could give Gig Harbor its first state championship since 1997.
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It didn’t matter who Jones faced; the senior couldn’t stop throwing strikes, and his opponents couldn’t stop swinging at them.
“I felt like I was on another level,” Jones said. “I feel like my stuff was working well, my velocity was working well, it’s just hard to explain … I feel like once I’m in the zone, I’m in it for the rest of the game.”
The Tides scored three runs in the second inning, but each team stalled for a stretch afterward. No runner from either team reached third base until the fifth inning, when Chad Stevens completed an inside-the-park home run, the first, and likely last, of his high school career.
With one out and a runner on first, Stevens lofted the ball to right field, where a Edmonds-Woodway outfield attempted a diving catch. He hit the grass with a thud and the ball bounced around in the back corner of Safeco Field, allowing Stevens to scurry around the bases.
As he approached third, Jansen wildly waved him home to take a 5-0 lead.
“It’s a little bit of luck, but I guess we’ll take it,” Stevens said. “I thought, ‘single,’ out of the box and then I saw him drop it. I was a little bit surprised when he waved me home, but I’m glad he did.”
Tomorrow’s game marks only the second time Gig Harbor has made the championship game in its history. Jansen said this year’s team and his team from 20 years ago are entirely different, but surely the memories and emotions are beginning to resurface.
“It feels good,” Jansen said. "It feels like a bang. These guys are playing great.
“I’ll have a hard time sleeping."
Avery Johnson: 7 IP, 10 K, 3 H, 0 ER. Chad Stevens: