Sports

Eagles survive, return to semis

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

The Federal Way Eagles just keep on rolling.

For the third straight year, the Federal Way baseball team earned a trip to the Class 4A state baseball semifinals with a 10-2 victory in the Region III final over Kentridge Saturday evening at Heidelberg Park in Tacoma. The win, coupled with a 7-6 heart-stopping victory over Evergreen (Vancouver) earlier in the day, further solidified the Eagle program as tops in Washington over the past three seasons. Federal Way won the state championship in 2001 and finished second last year.

“These kids are just used to winning,” said coach Eric Fiedler. “It doesn’t seem to get old.”

Federal Way will take on the surprising Tahoma Bears at 1 p.m. Friday at Everett Memorial Stadium in an all-South Puget Sound League matchup. Tahoma finished up in third place in the SPSL North and had to win a loser-out game at the league tournament to even qualify for the postseason. The other semifinal matches Shadle Park of Spokane and South Kitsap at 7 p.m. Friday.

The win over Kentridge was the Eagles second of the postseason over the Chargers. Federal Way downed Kentridge 2-1 in the SPSL championship game May 10 thanks to a no-hitter from senior Brett Davis.

This time, the result was a lot less dramatic. The Eagles exploded for five runs in the bottom of the second and put the game on ice with four runs in the fifth.

Shortstop Jeremy Day did the damage early for the Eagles. After turning a double play in the first to stop an early Charger rally, he delivered a two-run double in the bottom of the inning to give Federal Way the lead for good.

Junior lefthander Kyle Henselman was more than solid on the mound for the Eagles. Henselman earned a pair of victories on the day. He retired the final five hitters in the Eagles’ 7-6 win over Evergreen in the opener and threw six strong innings to beat Kentridge.

Henselman allowed only four hits and struck out five to improve to 7-1 on the season.

Senior centerfielder Andre Piper-Jordan finished 3-for4 with a triple and two runs, rightfielder Thomas Watts was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, second baseman Greg Washington finished 1-for-4 with a double and two runs and senior Terry Bishop was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Bishop also pitched the final inning for the Eagles.

The Eagles (18-5) had to scratch and claw to even get to the regional final game against Kentridge. Earlier in the day, Federal Way looked like they were on their way home.

The Eagles needed some late-inning heroics from a pair of seniors to down the Evergreen Plainsmen, 7-6, in the opening round of the regional tournament at Heidelberg Park.

Down 6-5 with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Federal Way used an RBI triple by Bishop, which plated Washington with the tying run. Davis followed with a shot into the right centerfield gap to score Bishop from third for the uncanny victory. The only thing Davis had to worry about was touching first base before joining his teammates on a pig-pile at home.

The Eagles seemed to be in total control of the game until the top of the fourth. That is when the Plainsmen scored three runs, cutting the Federal Way lead to just 5-4 after six straight Evergreen hitters reached base.

The big blow was a three-run double by pitcher Mychal Deming. But the damage could have been worse. After connecting on the double, Deming attempted to steal third, but was gunned down by Eagle catcher Peter Livingston. The next two Evergreen hitters reached base.

The Plainsmen tallied two more runs in the top of the sixth to take the lead on a two-run single by cleanup hitter Matt Kerner. But Henselman entered and got the final two outs of the inning to squash the Evergreen rally.

Piper-Jordan finished 2-for-4 with two runs and Bishop was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Davis pitched the first 4 1/3 innings of the game, before being relieved by Bishop, who went one inning. Henselman pitched the final 1 2/3 to earn the win.

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