Puyallup: Sports

Vikings defeat rival Rams after grueling marathon of games

Puyallup High baseball has had a marathon of sorts these last eight days after playing six games in seven days, including two travel days to Cary, North Carolina and back.

It’s been a grueling process.

"It’s been great," Puyallup coach Marc Wiese said. "These guys came to play and I love the electricity they bring. Shoot, it’s fun, let’s play another one tomorrow."

"My body’s a little beat up right now, so it will be good to get some rest," center fielder Owen Breithaupt said.

Before the Vikings could get that rest, Puyallup (4-1, 2-0) had to shutdown crosstown rival Rogers on March 31 at Heritage Field. The battle-tested Vikings did just that, posting a 10-1 victory behind starter Chris Micheles and the speed of the Vikings’ offense.

Micheles continued where he left off from his last start at the USA Baseball National High School Invitational. After shutting out Leesville Road (N.C.) on March 25, Micheles was just as dominant against Rogers.

"It was a little wet out at first, so I was just trying to get a feel for my fastball," Micheles said. "After the first few innings, my jitters started to go away and blowing through it."

Micheles shook off the jitters, and the junior started dealing in the win. Micheles finished with one-hit ball over six innings of work while piling up nine strikeouts.

"It’s just a great feeling getting better," Micheles said. "I just want to keep getting after it."

Puyallup struck fast against Rogers (4-3, 0-1) starter Jake Talbot. Knowing that the Rams ace had a vicious fastball-slider combo, Wiese put the Vikings in motion any time Talbot put a man on board.

"We knew coming in that Talbot can deal, so we wanted to put our guys in motion," Wiese said.

Talbot was as difficult as Wiese thought as the Rams starter struck out eight of the first 12 batters he faced.

But between Talbot’s five walks and three hits allowed, Puyallup put the game in motion as they were able to go a perfect 8-for-8 stealing bases, allowing the team to score five runs on Rogers’ ace.

Owen Breithaupt (0-for-1, four walks, three runs) was the biggest thief of the night, stealing four bases including completing the trifecta of stealing every base — including home — in the top of the fourth inning.

"Wiese just wanted me to do a jab step on the pitch and wait for the ball to be thrown back to the pitcher," Breithaupt said. "As soon as I saw the catcher throw it back, I took off."

Breithaupt’s steal of home pushed Puyallup’s lead to 5-0.

Puyallup catcher Brendan Illies earned a day off as he caught all six games Puyallup played last week. But knowing his captain, Wiese knows there was no way he could take out his team’s leader.

"In a perfect world (Brendan) would have probably had one of those games off … I’m already not pitching him, so if he wasn’t catching, he’d probably kill me," Wiese joked. "If we played tomorrow, he’d want to catch then, too … there’s no way he’s going to DH against Rogers."