Tahoma and Kentlake fastpitch moving on to districts

Tahoma comes up short in league title game, Kentlake earns seventh seed

Tahoma’s 7-0 loss to Emerald Ridge in the 4A South Puget Sound League fastpitch title game May 10 was just a flat tire on the road to state.

That’s what senior captains Jena Waler and Courtney Cloud told the rest of the team afterward.

For head coach Tom Milligan, it provided the Bears an opportunity to learn and improve, to understand what worked as well as what didn’t.

So Tahoma will fix that flat tire before the West Central District tournament which starts Friday morning at Sprinker Recreation Center, then continue rolling down the road.

“What you’d really like to see is it come full circle in districts or the next time you see them,” Milligan said. “You want to make those assessments and see that learning take place. There’s little things we need to be able to do. As a team that’s not a power hitting team … we need to be able to manufacture runs.”

Still there were a number of positive things to take from the SPSL tournament for Tahoma. There is the 9-5 win in the semifinal over Todd Beamer which put Tahoma in the league title game for the first time since Milligan took over as head coach. And the second seed is the highest the Bears have earned into the district tournament in recent memory, which sets them up for a more favorable first round draw.

The focus now, Milligan said, is to get the two wins needed to punch Tahoma’s third straight ticket to state. If the Bears win their first two games Friday they will do just that.

“We’re starting off going into Sprinker as a No. 2 team,” Milligan said. “That’s the best we’ve ever done. They need to let (the Emerald Ridge) game go. Let’s go do what we did successfully all season. We’ve got to go take game one immediately.”

That first game at the district tournament, set for 10 a.m., is against Gig Harbor, the fourth seed out of the Narrows League.

A win in that game would pit Tahoma against the victor of Kentridge’s first round game. The Chargers finished fifth.

Kentridge, by the way, hasn’t been to state since 2002. The Chargers are having quite a successful season, having finished second in the SPSL North and earned a spot in the league tournament semifinal with wins over Puyallup and Rogers on the first day before losing to Emerald Ridge and Beamer on day two.

In the first round of the district tournament Kentridge will get Battle Ground, Union or Skyview out of the Greater St. Helens League. Those games were not yet complete as of Monday morning.

Kentlake, which earned the seventh seed into the district tournament, had quite a league tournament experience, taking two of its three games into extra innings.

First, the Falcons took the Titans from Beamer to nine innings in the opening game only to lose 4-3, then handily defeated the Raiders from Thomas Jefferson 18-1 in the second game before narrowly losing to the Vikings 8-7 from Puyallup in in eight innings in the third contest May 10.

Kentlake will take on Bellarmine Prep, the Narrows League two seed, at 10 a.m. Friday.