In one swift swoop, Fife High School’s hopes of winning the Class 2A baseball crown were over.
Shortstop Cody Banks was the sure-handed savior for Cedarcrest. His double play, which included an unbelievable catch, off Kevin Nakamura’s line drive ended the Trojans’ comeback bid in the seventh inning. The Red Wolves held on for a 3-2 victory at County Stadium in Yakima.
After Banks snared the liner, he threw to second base to pick off pinch runner Jordan Anderson, who barreled around the bases thinking he would tie the game.
“I yelled at (Anderson) to go back,” Fife coach Shane Nixon said. “He was alredy going. There’s nothing you can do about that.”
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This 2A state semifinal turned out to be a pitchers’ duel between Cedarcrest’s Aaron Davenport (seven innings, no earned runs, eight strikeouts) and Fife’s Tanner Knapp (seven innings, one earned run, eight strikeouts).
The difference was Davenport’s fastball, which had more giddy-up than the Trojans were accustomed to facing in the 2A SPSL or in the postseason.
“We did not string hits together at the right time,” Nixon said. “We just didn’t get that signature extra-base hit to give us momentum.”
But Fife sure made the final inning interesting.
Wes Nixon started the inning with a single to third base. Jaden Hassell was hit by a Davenport pitch. And after Tanner Broom got on base, both Nixon and pinch runner Davis Bottemiller scored when the Red Wolves blew a third-to-home rundown by airmailing a throw into the outfield.
With one out, the Trojans trailed 3-2 with Anderson on second base.
“Nakamura touches it (with the bat) every time,” Nixon said. “He hit that line drive.”
He swung on the first pitch, and hit a soft liner that nearly got between both middle infielders, except Banks jumped in the air to snag it.
“It was a great play,” Nixon said.
Fife (21-4) had a hit and two walks to reach base three times. Nixon and Jalen Cope got on twice.
The Trojans will wrap up their most successful baseball season by playing Ellensburg for third place at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“The kids don’t think about (what they’ve accomplished) now, but they will later,” Nixon said. “We’ve never placed in the top four as a school. Getting here is not easy.”
Vashon 1, Overlake/Bear Creek 0: Levi Myer drove in the game’s only run with an RBI single to first base in the second inning, and the Pirates advanced to play defending state champion Hoquiam in the Class 1A title game at 7 p.m. Saturday
Jeremy Pilgrim Stoppel pitched a four-hitter for Vashon, striking out five, as the Pirates will be playing for their first state title.
It has been 19 years since Evergreen Lutheran made it to their lone state tournament, exiting early.
They have made sure to stick around a lot longer this time around.
Evergreen Lutheran and Colton , which is in the Class 1B title game for the first time since 2008, play for the Class 1B state title at 4 p.m. Saturday at Centralia High.
Eagles coach Allen Ash said much of the program’s improvement had to do with joining a summer league for the first time. They have nine seniors.
“It took us beyond midseason before we had our positions and batting order figured out,” Ash said.
Ash said sophomore Josiah Heimlich is expected to start on the mound.