Kentwood to take on Bothell in first round of state tournament

After tough loss in district semi-final, Conquerors bounce back for third place

Kentwood baseball’s roller coaster post-season is still on track as the state tournament looms Friday.

After a narrow loss to Puyallup in the South Puget Sound League championship game — the same team Kentwood beat in the 2012 4A title game — the Conquerors punched their ticket to state with a 5-0 victory over Heritage in the first round of the West Central District tournament May 7 and had a chance to get back to the district championship game.

South Kitsap stood between Kentwood and the district title contest May 11. While it was a matter of playing for seeding in the state bracket, the higher the place the better the draw, generally speaking. South Kitsap had Kentwood’s number, though, and knocked the Conks off 11-1 in five innings. Kentwood’s only run came early in the game when senior catcher Reese McGuire was able to score from first after the ball was fired past the first baseman into foul territory.

Kentwood bounced back later that day, putting together a 9-4 victory over Skyview to secure the third seed out of the district into the state tournament.

It wasn’t an easy win for the Conks, however, as they were down 4-2 heading into the seventh inning.

And then Kentwood’s offense exploded in the bottom of the seventh, putting seven runs on the board to put the game away.

Junior Andrew Ebner went 2-for-3 with a double while senior Tanner Wessling’s 2-for-4 day generated six RBIs, thanks in part to a home run. Meanwhile, Reese McGuire was 2-for-4 with a double and Mike Ciancio was 1-for-2 with an RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored.

Freshman Jordan Jones pitched five innings, while Wessling and Spencer Greene each threw an inning of relief, with Green picking up the win for the Conks.

Next up for Kentwood is Bothell at 10 a.m. Saturday at Everett Memorial Stadium in the regional round of the 4A state championship tournament.

Bothell was the third seed in the 4A KingCo baseball tournament then beat Ballard and Eastlake to punch its ticket to state and get into to the KingCo championship game May 10, losing 3-1 to Woodinville.