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Federal Way finds a way
By CASEY OLSON
Ho-hum. Another year, another state tournament appearance.
The Federal Way Eagles are back in the sweet sixteen of the Class 4A state baseball tournament after beating third-ranked Capital 4-3 Saturday afternoon in a West Central/Southwest 4A District game at the Daffodil Sports Complex in Sumner. The win earns them a regional berth for the fourth straight year.
Federal Way (18-4), who came into the game as the fourth-ranked team in the state, has played in the past three state championship games winning in 2001 and placing second the last two seasons.
Im looking forward to it, said Federal Way catcher Peter Livingston. This is our goal every year.
Saturdays game was somewhat sloppy between two of the better baseball programs in the state. Capital and Federal Way combined for five errors on a rainy and dreary day in Sumner. Capital had four of the errors, one which led to a pair of unearned runs for the Eagles.
We just wanted to get this game done and get to state, said junior Jon Flood. We came back and did it.
The Eagles will see a familiar foe when they open up the state tournament at the Tacomas Heidelberg Park at 11 a.m. Saturday in the opening game of the Region III bracket. Federal Way will face the team they tied for the South Puget Sound League South Division championship the Curtis Vikings. Curtis won a pair of games Saturday over Gig Harbor and Prairie to clinch their berth in the state tournament.
The other game in Federal Ways region will feature North Kitsap, the champions of the Narrows League, against the winner of a game between Woodinville and Lake Washington. The two winners will play at 5 p.m. with a berth to the Class 4A Final Four on the line.
The Eagles and Curtis split their two games during the SPSL regular season. The Vikings handed the then-No. 1 ranked Eagles their first loss of the year on April 3, 5-2. Federal Way came back to beat Curtis 6-2 in their regular season finale to earn a share of the South title May 3.
Josh Elmquist (7-0) remained unbeaten on the mound Saturday with another solid start against Capital. Elmquist, a senior right-hander, threw the first six innings before giving way to senior left-hander Kyle Henselman in the seventh.
Elmquist allowed just three hits, but uncharacteristically walked five Capital hitters. Two of the hits came in the top of the third inning, when the Cougars scored all three of their runs. Frank Peters bases-loaded double to put Capital up 3-0.
He kind of had spotty control, Livingston said about Elmquist. But he got great outs when it counted.
Federal Way picked up two runs in the third and took the lead with two more in the fifth, taking advantage of one of Capitals errors. Elmquist helped his own cause by knocking in one of the runs and Henselman had a booming RBI triple to centerfield. The Eagles also got some unexpected production from Livingston in the No. 9 hole. The senior catcher finished 2-for-2 with a pair of key hits.
He wasnt even going to be swinging the bat today, said Federal Way coach Eric Fiedler. But we had a couple guys out of the lineup and he stepped up and had his best game in high school. Kids like him is what makes coaching baseball, especially high school baseball, very rewarding.
Livingston wasnt the only bottom-of-the-order Federal Way player to make a contribution against Capital. Junior shortstop Matt Vlahovich finished 1-for-3 with a double and a run.
The top of the order has been amazing all year long, Livingston said. But when they dont do as well, its nice for us to step up.
The Raiders (14-8) bats didnt show up Friday afternoon and Jefferson was bounced from the West Central/Southwest District tournament 7-0 by Evergreen (Vancouver) at Kent Memorial Park.
Evergreen senior David Ciarlo (2-2 on the season) tossed a four-hit shutout and struck out eight.
Tyler Rutherford went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs to lead the Plainsmen of the Greater St. Helens League. Marshall West went 2-for-3 with two runs.
Jeffersons hits came from sophomores Rico Adams and Todd Muecklisch, and seniors Dusty Farkas and James Partridge.
Senior Aaron Bronson suffered the loss on the mound for Jefferson, throwing the first two innings.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, email@example.com