Sports

Titan baseball moves on after 12-inning win

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The Todd Beamer Titans are getting used to playing extra-inning baseball games. For the third time in the past month, the Titans needed 11-plus innings to win a game.

But this extra-inning victory is a little sweeter than the rest. It means the Titans’ season will continue. Beamer downed cross-district rival Federal Way, 4-3, in 12 innings Friday night in a loser-out game at the South Puget Sound League Tournament at Heritage Park in Puyallup. The game pitted the two fourth-place finishers from the SPSL North and South divisions.

“It was a good game,” said Beamer head coach Jerry Peterson. “We’ve been pitching real well lately and we just haven’t been able to get that big hit when we have needed it. But I think that will come. I think we are ready to explode.”

The Titans’ offense will have that chance on Saturday at the West Central District Tournament. Beamer will have to win a pair of games at Tacoma’s Heidelberg Park to advance into the Class 4A Regional Tournament. The Titans will open up at 2 p.m. against the Kentwood Conquerors (11-7). The winner of the Beamer-Kentwood game will play at 5 p.m. against the loser of a game between Central Kitsap (Narrows League champion) and Kentridge (SPSL No. 3 seed).

Friday night’s game against Federal Way played out just as most people expected — as a pitchers’ duel. Beamer’s ace, senior Matt Hart, and Federal Way’s No. 1, Dustin Horsfall, allowed only a pair of runs each through the first seven innings, necessitating the extra innings.

Federal Way jumped on the scoreboard early with a run in the bottom of the first before Beamer tallied both of its regulation runs in the top of the fourth. The Eagles tied the game at 2-2 on a solo home run from Donny McConnaughey in the fourth.

But that was all the scoring until the 12th. The Titans got RBIs from Jared Dearinger and Justin Lee in the top of the inning off McConnaughey, who relieved Horsfall in the 11th, to take a 4-2 lead.

The Eagles scored a single run in the bottom of the inning, but couldn’t get the tying run across against Beamer reliever Brian Corliss, who came in for Hart in the eighth. Hart and Corliss combined to strike out 17 Eagle hitters. Corliss also went 3-for-5 at the plate and struck out six. Hart struck out 11 Federal Way batters and will, most likely, get the start against Kentwood, according to Peterson.

Saturday’s West Central District Tournament is nothing new to the Titans’ baseball program. Beamer will be making its third straight appearance in the postseason when it takes on Kentwood at Heidelberg Park.

But Kentwood is also pretty comfortable in the playoffs. The Conquerors have developed into one of the best baseball programs in the state over the past decade and finished this season as the third-place team from the rugged SPSL North. Kentwood has won five of its past six games, including a 4-2 win over Puyallup at the SPSL Tournament.

“Kentwood has a lot of playoff experience,” Peterson said. “They’ve been there before, but so have we. Now we just need to go out and do it.”

The Titans were beaten up pretty good by Kentwood in a non-league meeting earlier this season. The Conquerors downed Beamer, 7-0, on March 20.

The Conquerors scored two runs in the top of the first off Corliss and four more in the fifth. The Titans managed only six hits off a pair of Kentwood pitchers and made an uncharacteristic three errors.

“It was an early-season game, so we were pitching everyone,” Peterson said. “So it’s tough to get a good grip on it. They are pretty athletic at every position. We are pretty excited.”

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