Sports

Federal Way comes up short

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

The Federal Way baseball team’s magical three-year run came to an abrupt end Monday night.

The Eagles were shut out 1-0 in a state quarterfinal game by a solid Lake Washington Kangaroo team at Heidelberg Park in Tacoma. The loss ended Federal Way’s season one-game short of their fourth straight trip to the Class 4A Final Four. The Eagles have played in the last three state championship games.

“They were tough,” said a somber Kyle Henselman following the loss.

The Lake Washington game was the second of the day for the Eagles. Federal Way (19-5) downed league rival Curtis 9-5 in their Region III opener earlier Monday afternoon. The Kangaroos (20-6) beat Narrows League champion North Kitsap in their first game of the day, 3-1. The Region III Tournament was scheduled to take place Saturday, but rained cancelled all three games.

The Federal Way bats had no answers for Lake Washington starter Jared Krall. The converted infielder held the potent Eagle offense to just two singles and allowed only a pair of runners to reach second base by getting ahead with first-pitch strikes and a curveball he threw on any count.

“He was throwing his curve for a strike all the time,” Henselman said. “Our plan is to let the first pitch go and try to hit his fastball. We just didn’t do it.”

The Krall shutout spoiled a very solid performance by Federal Way junior right-hander Jon Flood. Flood allowed only three hits in six innings of work and struck out six. But the Kangaroos got the big hit when they needed it — unlike the Eagles.

Two of the three Lake Washington hits came in the bottom of the fifth inning. Number-eight hitter Mike DeDonato led off with a double to left-center and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a single threw a drawn-in infield.

Federal Way’s best opportunities to push a run across came in the top of the fifth when Flood led off with a single and stole second. But a diving catch by Lake Washington center fielder Aaron Adsit on a Nick Harteau line drive, a Peter Livingston strikeout and a Matt Vlahovich flyout to right stranded Flood on third base.

Senior Thomas Watts was the only other Eagle to reach second in the seventh inning when he was hit by Krall curveball to start the inning. After stealing second, a Flood flyout and two straight strikeouts by Harteau and Doug Lottes ended Federal Way’s season. Junior Brandon Turrell had the Eagles other hit — a fourth-inning single.

Federal Way 9, Curtis 5

Revenge was pretty sweet for the Eagles in their Region III opener Monday against Curtis. Federal Way avenged one of their four losses during the regular season in eliminating the Vikings 9-5 at Heidelberg Park.

“They gave us a little extra motivation to beat them,” Federal Way coach Eric Fiedler said. “They wouldn’t move out of the way for our guys to play long toss before the game and their pitcher was starting us down after strikeouts. It was nice to beat them.”

The Eagles and Vikings tied for the South Puget Sound League South Division championship with 15-3 records and split their two regular season games entering the state tournament.

Vlahovich proved to be the difference this time around — with his glove and bat. The junior shortstop made the play of the day in the top of the sixth inning to squelch a possible huge rally. With the Eagles holding a 5-2 lead, Curtis loaded the bases with two outs when Adam Holmes hit a grounder in the third-base hole. Vlahovich dove and threw the ball to third baseman Tyler Pac to force the runner from second.

“(Pac) told me before the ball was hit that it was coming to me in the hole,” Vlahovich said. “I made a good play, I guess.”

Vlahovich’s bat gave the Eagles the lead for good in the bottom the second inning with a two-run single off Curtis starter Scott Deal to put Federal Way up 2-1. The hit scored Flood and Harteau.

“Deal was strong all day,” Vlahovich said. “He was throwing me outside. Luckily, I stayed on it and got a big hit.”

Federal Way also got a strong performance on the mound from senior right-hander Josh Elmquist, who improved to 8-0 on the season.

Elmquist threw the first five innings before giving way to Henselman. Elmquist gave up two runs on six hits and was also 2-for-3 with an RBI at the plate. Flood finished 2-for-4 and two runs and a big two-out, two-run single during a four-run seventh inning.

Curtis tried to rally in their final at-bat against Henselman, scoring two runs after five straight hitters reached base. But Vlahovich caught a line drive and turned it into a double play when Curtis catcher Sean Dougherty was hung out to dry at second base. The game ended when Watts threw out a baserunner trying to take third after a throwing error.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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