High School Sports

Puyallup caps championship season with 3-2 title win over Kentlake

First Michael Spellacy — he grabbed the 4A state championship trophy, hoisted it above his head with both arms and then brought it back down to kiss the golden glove atop.

Later it was Puyallup High School baseball coach Marc Wiese’s turn. He held it over his head and commanded his team’s attention.

“The legacy that you built — screw 2014,” Wiese said to a raucous roar from his team.

Later he seemed embarrassed when asked about calling out his only other previous state title team. It was probably poorly worded, he said, and out of adrenaline.

“I love that 2014 team,” Wiese laughed. “I love these guys, too. I would love to see the 2014 team play the 2017 team.

“To win that first one is really special — but to get this second now just has legitimized everything.”

This title — Puyallup’s second in school history — came via a 3-2 victory against fellow South Sound rival Kentlake on Saturday at Safeco Field.

Wiese said there was a monkey on this program’s back — the top-ranked Vikings had won 10 consecutive 4A SPSL titles, and reached state for the 10th consecutive year — the longest active streak in Washington. But he wanted more championship trophies to hoist than the lonely one from 2014.

“These guys remind me exactly of that team,” said Wiese, who is in his 21st season with Puyallup after graduating from Wilson. “The grit, the grind, the fortitude, the want. Whether it’s Michael telling me all year, ‘We are going to win a state championship. I’ve been living for this’ — those are the things I hear from all these guys.

“I’m so proud. I love that fact of where this program is. But today these guys legitimized that we are the best program in the state. No question.”

But this was no walk among the Puyallup daffodils.

Kentlake tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the third inning on Caleb Jamie’s RBI single and Shane Nagel’s RBI groundout.

Two innings later, Puyallup regained the lead on Brady Hinkle’s two-out double to left field to score Tallon Yerbury.

Puyallup had plenty other chances. It left the bases loaded in three innings, but Kentlake pitcher Jordon Wright kept escaping.

Wright walked seven batters, but lasted five innings, allowing the three runs.

“I went to take him out there when the bases were loaded in the fifth, I was going to take him out,” Kentlake coach Brett Jaime said. “But he decided he wanted the ball. Jordon has been a great pitcher for us all year, he’s been a great player for us. If he wants the ball, I’ll let him take it.”

Wright coaxed an inning-ending double play.

But Spellacy was dealing for Puyallup. The Gonzaga University-bound pitcher/shortstop who was The News Tribune’s All-Area player of the year, lasted six innings and allowed six hits, one walk and struck out three.

It came after he earned the save in a 5-4 victory against Skyview in Friday’s semifinals. Spellacy transferred from Battle Ground after his sophomore year; Skyview had hit a walk-off home run against him in a playoff game in 2014. Then Puyallup lost to Cascade of Everett in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

“Those pressure situations in the past — they helped me grow and get me where I am today,” Spellacy said.

“I had waited my whole life for this. To come up here, to Puyallup — last year we didn’t do what we wanted to do. But this year we got redemption.”

Noah Fenz pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning for the save Saturday.

Puyallup’s finished the season on a 25-game win streak after losing its first two games of the season to Federal Way and Battle Ground.

Kentlake has still never won a state title and was in the title game for the second time in school history.

“We were in the game the whole time,” Jaime said. “It’s unfortunate we couldn’t piece together a couple of runs.”

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677