Falcons awarded top seed to playoffs after crazy finish; Bears settle for No. 2
Sometimes, things have a way of falling into place no matter how muddled they seem.
That proved to be the case Tuesday night for the Kentlake High baseball team during the final round of games on the South Puget Sound League North Division schedule.
The Falcons entered the day one game ahead of Tahoma in the standings and needing a victory against Kentridge or a Tahoma loss to Decatur to clinch the division title outright.
It proved to be easier said than done as the Falcons fell to the Chargers in an epic 8-inning offensive uprising by both teams, 21-16. That came just a few hours after Tahoma beat Decatur, 2-1.
Those results left Kentlake and Tahoma deadlocked for first place at 11-3.
Based on the league’s tiebreaking scenario, which awards points in accordance with wins, Kentlake (11-3, 15-4) was given the North’s top seed to Friday night’s SPSL tournament at Kent Memorial Park (results unavailable). The seventh-ranked Falcons played South champion Puyallup (12-2, 17-3) for the top berth to next Saturday’s district tournament, which will be played at various locations.
At the conclusion of Tuesday night’s games, it was believed Tahoma (11-3, 14-5) would get the top nod based on the tiebreaker points.
“It wasn’t a good feeling after (losing to Kentridge),” said Kentlake coach Jason Evans, who didn’t learn of his team’s top seed until Wednesday morning. “There were rumors flying around everywhere.”
Because Kentlake beat fourth-place Federal Way twice this year while Tahoma split two with the Eagles, the Falcons were awarded the No. 1 seed.
“That was the difference,” Tahoma coach Russ Hayden said. “They had 40.5 points and we had 38.5 (based on our wins during the regular season).”
Late Tuesday night, Hayden believed the Bears had claimed the top seed. Learning otherwise was a bit deflating.
“It was a little bit. You hope for that No. 1 spot,” Hayden said. “But going into the season I was hoping to get fourth and get one playoff game out of these guys. As far as I am concerned, they’ve stepped up.”
Kentridge and Kentlake combined for 40 hits on Tuesday — 21 for the Falcons, 19 for the Chargers. Kentlake also matched a rather dubious honor as its 16-run outburst tied the SPSL record for most runs scored in a loss, equalling a feat set by Auburn Riverside in 2000, when the Ravens fell to Kentwood 20-16.
“Everybody hit the ball,” KL coach Evans said. “Bloop singles, bloop doubles, home runs. You name it, it happened.”
Indeed it did. While the game had plenty of offensive stars, Kentridge’s Spencer Graham trumped everyone. Graham blasted three home runs and drove in seven. Nick Mead also homered for the Chargers (5-9 league, 6-12 overall).
“(Graham) was in that locked-in mode,” Evans said. “It didn’t matter if we one-hopped it to the plate, he was going to hit it.”
The Falcons were paced by Miles Nagel (5 for 6, four RBIs and a double) and Spencer Baldwin (4 for 5, 4 RBIs).
“I think we had 21 hits total, and scoring 16 runs, you should be able to win every game you step on the field,” Evans said. “It’s one of those fluke things.”
Tahoma played South No. 2 finisher Beamer (11-3, 13-5) on Friday for the SPSL’s third and fourth seeds to the district tournament (results unavailable).
Tiebreakers aside, the Bears now have won or shared the last three SPSL North crowns. Kentlake finished on top for the first time since 2005, when it shared the honor with Auburn.
Tahoma’s Thomas Hammett helped the Bears earn their piece of the penthouse, picking up the victory on the mound against Decatur with six strong innings. He also delivered a key RBI single in the third inning that gave the Bears all the runs they would need.
• ALSO: Kentwood (7-7, 9-10) wrapped up its season on Monday with a 13-3 five-inning win against Kent-Meridian. Tom Breakfield, Jordan Bredengerd and Ramon Rosaldo all collected a pair of hits for the Conquerors.