It was Matt Hefty’s best start this season.
And that’s after taking his no-hitter — in a five-inning game — into consideration.
At least, that’s what Rogers High School baseball coach Matt Whitehead said. Hefty allowed one run and three hits in seven innings to lift the Rams to a 5-1 win over crosstown rival Emerald Ridge on Thursday at Heritage Park in Puyalllup that all but locked up the second seed in the 4A SPSL South.
“He’s really stepped up and doing well for us,” Whitehead said.
Rogers (13-5, 8-3 4A SPSL South) staked itself to a two-game lead over Curtis (11-6, 6-4) and Emerald Ridge (8-8, 6-4) for the No. 2 spot behind Puyallup. The Rams play Monday against league foe Graham-Kapowsin.
Emerald Ridge put itself into a tough hole with the loss. The Jaguars host Curtis at 4 p.m. Monday.
Troy Johnston, a Gonzaga commit who entered the game batting .558, hit a sharp single to center field in the fourth. He went to second base on a wild pitch, stole third and then scored on another wild pitch — all with Jacob Stone up at bat.
Last year, Needham hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, dealing a blow to G-K and standout left-hander C.J. Blowers, who up until that time hadn’t allowed a run.
One year later, Needham was at it again. Only this time it was a three-run homer to stretch the Vikings’ lead to four in the top of the fourth inning.
Blowers, the son of former Seattle Mariner and Bethel High graduate Mike Blowers, lasted 32/3 innings against Puyallup, allowed five runs — three earned — walked five and struck out six. He threw 88 pitches.
Graham-Kapowsin (7-8, 4-6 4A SPSL South) fell two games back of fourth-place Curtis with the loss. Puyallup (13-2, 10-1) had already clinched its eighth consecutive league title with a win Tuesday over Rogers.
Graham-Kapowsin’s Keegan Lonyo hit a home run — his second this week.
Mike Ciancio was 3 for 3 with a double, a triple and three RBIs for Kentwood (15-2, 12-0 4A SPSL Northeast), which needed just one win over Kentridge (9-10, 6-6) to secure the league title. The Conks got that Monday.
Beamer was losing 3-1 until rallying behind five runs in the fourth inning, which began with Taylor Davis’ double. The Titans never trailed after that.