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Pitching and timely hitting lead Raiders to fourth-place finish
TJ fastpitch wins three of four; Titans, Raiders struggle on the baseball field
The Thomas Jefferson Raider fastpitch team earned the South Puget Sound Leagues fourth seed into the West Central District Tournament. The Raiders put together a 3-1 record Friday and Saturday at the SPSL championships at the Service Park Ball Fields in Kent.
Jefferson opens the West Central District Tournament Friday morning at 10 against the Tahoma Bears. It will be the fourth time TJ and Tahoma have met this season. The Raiders (16-6) have blasted the Bears in their previous three meetings by a combined score of 35-3. Jefferson beat Tahoma 11-1 Saturday at the SPSL Tournament in five innings. The Bears (10-13) finished as the seventh seed from the SPSL.
The 16-team West Central District tourney will be held at the Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway and feature 10 teams from the SPSL and six from the Narrows League. The top-six finishers advance to the Class 4A State Tournament.
The Raiders rode the left arm of junior pitcher Jessica Dickson and clutch hitting at the top of their order Friday and Saturday in Kent. Dickson threw all 26 innings during the SPSL Tournament and allowed only 19 hits and six runs.
Jeffersons only loss came Friday night in the quarterfinals to the Puyallup Vikings, 3-2. Sophomore shortstop Hannah Kiyohara finished 3-for-3 with three doubles and an RBI and catcher Christie Bruin was 2-for-3 with a triple and RBI against the Vikings.
But the Raiders came back Saturday to beat Tahoma and Kentridge, 3-1. Jefferson senior Stephanie Ogle finished 6-for-6 during Saturdays two wins with two RBIs, two runs and two doubles.
The Raiders also downed Graham-Kapowsin in their opener on Friday afternoon, 6-1. Senior outfielder Erin Fujita had a pair of two-run doubles into left-center in both the first and second innings to give Jefferson a 4-1 lead over the Eagles.
The Raiders are looking to qualify for their second straight state tournament, which will be played May 23-24 at the South End Recreation Area in Tacoma. Last year, TJ finished 2-2 at state with a lot of the same players.
Kent Memorial Park wasnt too kind to the Beamer and Jefferson baseball teams Saturday. Both the Titans and Raiders were bombed at the West Central District Tournament, ending their seasons.
Beamer, who finished second in the South Puget Sound League South Division, dropped a pair of games at the district tournament Saturday to Kentlake, 16-6, and Central Kitsap, 11-1. Jefferson, the third-place finisher in the SPSL North during the regular season, was also beat up Central Kitsap, 10-0.
Beamer (13-8) just couldnt get anything going offensively against Kentlake in the opening game of the district tournament Saturday morning. Sophomore pitcher Zach Wright (6-0) threw five strong innings before leaving with a 10-1 lead. Beamer took advantage of Wright being out of the game in the top of the sixth to score five runs, but Kentlake responded with six in the bottom half of the inning to end the game because of the 10-run rule.
Beamer junior Nick Edwards finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Travis Crumb was 2-for-2.
The loss forced the Titans into a winner-to-state, loser-out game against Central Kitsap, who rolled over TJ in an earlier loser-out contest. The Beamer offense also struggled against the Cougars (19-6), banging out only three hits during the six-inning game.
Central Kitsaps Caleb Brown broke open a 1-1 tie with a three-run home run in the third inning. Brown, a University of Washington signee, also doubled twice and was intentionally walked in the sixth, when the Cougars scored six runs. Carson Wolbert had the only RBI for Beamer.
Central Kitsaps Casey Bohlmann threw a two-hitter and threw only 50 pitches during the 10-0, five-inning win over TJ Saturday.
Brown was 3 for 3, including a solo home run. Sophomore Drew Vettleson added a two-run homer in the fifth.
The Raiders (14-8) committed six errors.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org