The Todd Beamer baseball team gradually built on an early two-run lead Tuesday to down Decatur, 4-1, and clinch the Class 4A SPSL Northwest title.
Titans coach Jerry Peterson couldn’t have picked a better scenario.
“It was against our city rivals, and they’re a good team,” Peterson said. “So to win against Decatur, for us in the first year of this league, is big.”
The Titans loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first and scored two when Taylor Davis hit a sharp grounder to shortstop that bounced off Bryan Ponce’s glove and trickled into center field.
Tommy Davis then got on base in the fourth with a one-out double to left and advanced to third on a passed ball. Chaz McKenzie laid down a sacrifice squeeze bunt to score him.
“(McKenzie) can bunt well, and he wouldn’t miss that,” Peterson said. “It was a good opportunity, and I wanted to get an insurance run.”
The Titans added one more in the fifth to give pitcher Andrew McBride a 4-0 cushion. McBride threw a complete game and carried a shutout through six innings to earn his first win. He struck out six in an 83-pitch performance — 55 strikes — allowing one run on four hits and two walks.
The Gators started to piece together a rally with two outs in the top of the fifth, but McBride worked out of the jam by forcing Justyn Ekness to fly out to right for the third out.
“I knew I had the lead,” McBride said. “So even if I did give up a run, it wasn’t the end of the game.”
Decatur’s only run came in the top of the seventh, when Nate Adams hit a two-out single to right that scored JV Magruder from second. Magruder was 2 for 3 with a stolen base for the Gators.
“I was kind of mad,” McBride said. “I was going for a shutout, but I’ll take the win any way it comes, especially right now.”
Beamer (12-5, 9-2 SPSL 4A Northwest) will play its final two regular season games on the road — including a rematch against Decatur (10-7, 7-4) at 4 p.m. Thursday — before postseason play begins.
Puyallup 3, Rogers 2: Brendan Illies hit his second walk-off single in as many days, this one giving the Vikings their eighth consecutive 4A SPSL South title and ninth in the past 10 years.
“It feels good. I’m proud of the kids and how they competed,” Puyallup coach Marc Wiese said. “I really believe in these guys. We are just going to go out and play our best and see what happens. But no matter what, I love these guys.”
Illies, a University of North Carolina commit, singled to left field with the bases loaded to score CJ Krippaehne with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning to seal the win over Rams (12-5, 7-3 4A SPSL South).
Illies singled home Riley Pletcher in the bottom of the seventh in a 3-2 win over Emerald Ridge on Monday.
The Vikings (12-2, 9-1) have won three of their past four games with a walk-off hit.
Zach Needham, a University of Washington commit, hit a two-run home run in the first inning for Puyallup. He hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth in the Vikings’ 1-0 win over Graham-Kapowsin this past week.
“They’ve got a little flair for the dramatic,” Wiese said.
Tahoma 1, Thomas Jefferson 0: Sophomore forward Cris Garfias scored three minutes into the match, and that’s all the Bears needed to keep their record spotless with the SPSL crossover victory.
Tahoma (12-0-0, 9-0-0 4A SPSL Northeast) has already won more games this season than it did all of last year.
Garfias netted the goal off an assist from Logan Wood.
It was just the second time 4A SPSL Northwest-leading Jefferson (6-3-3, 5-2-2) has been shut out this season. The other was in a 2-0 loss April 10 to Gig Harbor.