Kentwood senior shortstop Isaac Hegamin may not be the flashiest player for the Conquerors. He might not hit the ball the hardest or the farthest. But what he does do is get on base. And once he does, he’s pesky on the base paths.
Hegamin went 3 for 3 in Kentwood’s Class 4A state quarterfinal against Gig Harbor on Saturday evening in Puyallup, with a double, two singles and a walk. He started Kentwood’s offensive attack against the Tides and kept it going all night, helping the Conks punch their ticket to the state semifinals with a 7-4 victory.
“He’s been that way all year,” Kentwood coach Mark Zender said of his senior leader. “He bunts his way on, he gets base hits. You watch him play, defensively he’s fantastic but offensively he drives teams nuts. He’s on base constantly in every way you can imagine. He’s fast, he’s smart.”
Hegamin got on base with a single in the sixth inning. From there, he stole second, reached third on a balk, and sprinted home on a misplay.
“That’s a big part of my game, I try to play with my speed,” Hegamin said. “Late in games when we have a lead, it’s very important to push at least one run across each inning. That’s what I try to do, finding my way to third and getting the passed ball, it was huge.”
The Conquerors jumped on Gig Harbor senior pitcher Avery Jones early, tallying six runs in the first two innings. Senior Ben Wadowski hit a two-run triple to get the scoring started, and senior Daniel Tanaka followed that up with a two-run homer to left field to give Kentwood a four-run first inning.
“Obviously, that’s huge,” Zender said. “You don’t expect to score that many runs that fast. We spent all week really hitting. That was our focus. We have a pretty good defense and a decent pitching staff. We thought our hitting had not really been what it could be. We spent a lot of time taking batting practice.”
Gig Harbor rallied with a three-run fourth to cut its deficit to 6-3, but the hole proved too deep to escape. Kentwood is two wins away from claiming a state title.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing,” Hegamin said. “We have some losses, but we haven’t faced a team yet that’s better than us. We’re going to play with confidence and we’re just going to go get it.”
Cascade of Everett 4, Puyallup 1: Brennen Hancock smoked a line-drive triple into right field with the bases loaded to score three runs and complete the Bruins’ rally from a one-run deficit in the top of the seventh inning.
Puyallup was held to three hits in the season-ending loss after the Vikings had won 4A SPSL and 4A West Central District titles. Collin Wolf drove in Puyallup’s run in the third inning.
Skyline 4, Timberline 3: The Blazers’ hopes for a state title ended, with a late run finishing them off.
The game was tied 3-3 entering the fifth inning when Skyline scored what would eventually be the winning run — on a sharply hit single down the left field line with one out.
Timberline’s three runs came in the third inning, with Cody Kartmen knocking one in with a double.
“We had a good year,” Blazers coach Mark Rubadue said. “The kids played hard, they practiced hard. They wanted to be good, and they were rewarded for their effort.”
Lynnwood 14, Central Kitsap 1: The Cougars committed six errors, ace pitcher Griffin McCormick allowed nine of the first 10 batters to reach base, and they trailed the Royals by seven runs after the first inning.
The five-inning loss ended Central Kitsap’s season.
Central Kitsap (22-3) simply didn’t play like it had previously this season, when it won the 3A Narrows title and its second consecutive 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict championship.
Fife 2, Lynden 1: The Trojans trailed 1-0 after the first inning and the coaches and players had to have been wondering if their playoff road would again stop short of the 2A state semifinals for the fifth consecutive year.
“I did at first,” Fife coach Shane Nixon said. “But I knew this was a different team with a different mental makeup.”
Chase Anderson plated the tying run after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the next inning, and he doubled home Jalen Cope in the fourth to put Fife ahead.
Cole Connolly scattered six hits over six innings. And Eli Graham shut down Lynden in the seventh for the save.
The win over Lynden came hours after Tanner Knapp pitched a shutout and Eli Graham homered in Fife’s 3-0 victory over Blaine in the first round at Joe Martin Stadium in Bellingham.
And now Fife is headed to the Final Four for the first time in school history.
I didn’t know what to say,” Knapp said. “They just did something we’ve been working on for who knows how many years.
“I’ve been pushing the kids to be the first — last year they broke through and were the first team to win a state game. We kept pressing them and letting them know, ‘Be the first, be the first.’ ”
Fife’s semifinal game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at County Stadium in Yakima.
W.F. West 5, River Ridge 0: The Hawks’ postseason ride ended in the first round of the 2A state tournament.
River Ridge reached the state tournament for the first time since 2010 after finishing third in the 2A SPSL standings, and finished its season at 11-13.
Vashon 10, Nooksack Valley 5: The Pirates left no doubt about their fate, punching their ticket to the 1A state semifinals with a win over the Pioneers.
Vashon will take on Overlake at 7 p.m. Friday at County Stadium in Yakima.
Vashon began the tournament with a 5-3 win over Meridian.
Overlake 4, Cascade Christian 0: Dreams of a Cougars’ state title were dashed, as the Owls shut them out.
Staff writers Jeffrey Giuliani and TJ Cotterill contributed to this report.
Kentwood 4 2 0 0 0 1 0--7
Gig Harbor 0 0 0 3 0 1 0--4