"We want this more than anybody," Federal Way's Tyler Muller says
A steady rain ensured the league championship game between Federal Way and Kentlake wasn’t always pretty.
But Federal Way didn’t mind a little rain, which may have even helped the Eagles.
Federal Way scored 14 runs in two innings — capitalizing on six Kentlake errors — to top the Falcons 14-1 in five innings and clinch the inaugural title of the re-formed North Puget Sound League Tuesday night at Art Wright Field.
“You get that run, you get that hit … you get that snowball going and it just gets bigger and bigger,” said Federal Way senior Tyler Muller, who went 2 for 2 with three RBI and two runs scored. “We’re good at capitalizing on that.”
Kentlake took the game’s first lead in the top of the third inning, scoring on a fielder’s choice during a pickoff.
Federal Way came right back with RBI singles from Mark Wright, who went 2 for 4 with three RBI and two runs scored, and Muller to put the No. 3 Eagles ahead 5-1 heading into the fourth inning.
A nine-run rally in the fourth, with six runs coming before No. 6 Kentlake recorded the first out of the inning, put the game out of reach.
“Those were our worst two innings of the year,” Falcons coach Brett Jaime said. “That game’s not representative of who we are as a team. I’m confident that we’ll be all right. But it’s a good lesson to the guys, especially with how they handle adversity. From that standpoint it’s a blessing to have a game like this to help the guys grow.”
The win was the ninth consecutive for Federal Way (16-3 overall), the top seed out of the Olympic Division. The Eagles are the top seed from the 4A NPSL in next week’s 4A West Central District tournament and will face the No. 5 seed at 7 p.m. next Tuesday at Art Wright Field.
It was also the second consecutive league title for Federal Way.
“It feels good,” said Eagles second-year coach Arlo Evasick. “A little rocky start – up and down – at the beginning of the year. We went through a little bit of adversity. … We’re nine or 10 straight now and they’re playing really well. I think it’s because we struggled (early this season) and last year we never really struggled.”
The 14 runs were more than enough for senior Calvin Turchin, who allowed just two hits in the contest.
“We call him Big Cat for a reason,” Evasick said. “He’s thrown our big games for the last two years since I’ve been here. ... He rises to the occasion. He’s a really competitive pitcher and competitive kid. He wants the ball in big situations.”
Federal Way is hoping to navigate a tough district tournament and return to the 4A state tournament.
“It’s definitely something we’ve been working hard for all season,” Muller said. “We’re excited to have the No. 1 seed.
“We want this more than anyone else, I promise you that. We’re definitely going to keep working.”
Kentlake (13-6), which finished first in the Cascade Division, also has dreams of making a deep postseason run. But for now, Jaime is looking forward to getting back onto the diamond as soon as possible so the Falcons can wash away Tuesday night’s game.
“The elements were difficult. That’s all I’ll say about the elements,” Jaime said. “We’ve got the responsibility to make plays. Both teams are playing on the same field. Both teams struggled with some balls.
“I’ve never seen it snowball like that for us,” Jaime continued. “But sports have a lot of momentum. … We’ll be playing a non-league game (against Enumclaw on Wednesday). That’ll be a good way to get right back on the field as quick as we can and get this taste out of our mouths.”