Jordan Jones made sure things went right this time.
So he got the belt.
Jones, a senior right-hander headed to play next year for the University of Washington, struck out four batters and tossed a complete-game one-hitter, leading Kentwood over Woodinville 9-0 in the WIAA 4A state baseball semifinals at Gesa Stadium.
The Conquerors will play Skyline (18-8) – a 5-4 semifinal winner over Wenatchee – in the 4A state championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday.
This was a game that Jones wanted so desperately.
Three years ago, as a freshman, Jones took the semifinal loss for Kentwood — 1-0 loss to South Kitsap on an unearned run.
“So coming back here is so huge, because I didn’t get that win as a freshman,” Jones said.
Kentwood coach Mark Zender was elated for Jones.
“That was his usual game,” Zender said. “Jordan has great stuff, such great command. He knew they were going to be aggressive at the plate. They don’t tend to work the count.”
Indeed. The Falcons are a good first-pitch fastball hitting team.
“So we wanted to throw pitches that looked good, but weren’t so good,” said Zender.
Woodinville obliged, hacking away early in the count. So much so that Jones tossed just 78 pitches over the seven innings. He had innings of six, nine and eight pitches, and he retired 14 consecutive Falcons batters in one stretch.
“It could go good or it could go bad when they swing away like that,” Jones said. “They’re all great hitters. They just battled.”
And Jones drove in what was basically the only run he needed all night, hitting a sacrifice fly to right field in the second inning for a 1-0 lead.
So when the game was over, Zender and his staff gave him the team’s most coveted award – a belt.
“The player of the game gets a WWE belt,” said Jones, who after pitching his final game for the Conks then addressed his teammates.
“I told them it’s been a great four years, but we’ve got one more game to win,” said Jones, who is 27-2 in four years — including 11-0 this year with 101 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings.
That brought a tremendous roar of approval from his teammates.
If his performance wasn’t dominating enough, his teammates brought the lumber too.
The Conks had nine hits, with Garrett Stewart having two doubles and a single. He drove in three runs.
“We knew (Woodinville starter Bryce Coyne) threw hard and we had to get on him early,” said Stewart.
Zender said the Conks have been concentrating on hitting.
“The last two weeks we’ve done more hitting in the batting cages,” Zender said. “We’ve been taking batting practice twice a day.”
For Kentwood, now 24-5, that extra hitting seems to be working.
“Coach called this a business trip, but at the same time we wanted to have some fun,” said Stewart.
On Friday night, the Conquerors had a blast.
WP: Jordan Jones 7 IP, H, 4 K. LP: Brynce Coyne 4 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 4 K. Highlights: (KW) Shane McGuire 1-4, 3B, R; Garrett Stewart 3-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R; Daniel Tanaka 1-1, 2 RBI, 3 R; Trenton Harris 2-3, RBI, R. (W) A.J. Schramm 1-3.