News

Olympia tops Puyallup, 8-4, in bidistrict title game


title=

Olympia High School starter Taber Fast throws a pitch during the Class 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict championship game on Saturday, May 14, 2022 at Kent-Meridian High School in Kent, Wash. Olympia beat Puyallup, 8-4, to win the title.

lsmith@thenewstribune.com

Two of the top baseball programs in the Class 4A South Puget Sound League — and in the state — met again Saturday night.

Puyallup won the first meeting between the two South Sound powers back in early April at home. Olympia responded later in the month by edging Puyallup during the return visit.

The two entered the 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament bracket on opposite sides last week, and won their respective quarterfinals and semifinals matchups, setting up another meeting in the championship game at Kent Meridian High School.

“It was the third time we’ve played them, so it was very much like a rubber match kind of thing,” Bears coach Derek Weldon said.

When the seven-inning contest was over this time, it was Olympia celebrating a bidistrict championship win.

The Bears built an early lead, which reached as many as eight runs in the fourth inning, and leaned on their steady Division I-bound pitching to keep the Vikings out of reach in an 8-4 victory.

“Really proud of our guys — and just the entire approach today,” Weldon said.

Olympia jumped on the Vikings early, scoring two runs each in the second and third innings, and added four more in the fourth to take an 8-0 lead.

_DSC4778.jpg
Olympia High School infielder Logan Shepherd celebrates hitting a two-run home run in the second inning of the Class 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict championship game on Saturday, May 14, 2022 at Kent-Meridian High School in Kent, Wash. Olympia beat Puyallup, 8-4, to win the title. Lauren Smith lsmith@thenewstribune.com

Olympia junior Logan Shepherd crushed a two-run home run in the second to get the Bears on the board, and they never trailed from there.

Shepherd finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a double, the go-ahead home run, two RBI and a walk.

Bears starter Taber Fast finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and walked once, while senior Rylan Haider, a Washington State signee, junior Evan Nicol and freshman Lincoln Berg also drove in runs.

“All of these guys out here, they lock in right from the beginning,” Fast said. “ … We know they’re a great team, so we need to come out with our ‘A’ game to get things done.”

_DSC4795.jpg
Olympia High School players celebrate Logan Shepherd’s (23) two-run home run in the second inning of the Class 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict championship game on Saturday, May 14, 2022 at Kent-Meridian High School in Kent, Wash. Olympia beat Puyallup, 8-4, to win the title. Lauren Smith lsmith@thenewstribune.com

The early run support gave Fast, a senior and Texas Tech signee, a reasonable cushion to work with, and he responded by shutting the Vikings down early.

“It means a lot,” Fast said of getting the start in the title game. “It means coach has trust in me to go out there and get things done, and I’m just really, really thankful that I got the opportunity to go out here and compete against these guys.”

Puyallup didn’t score until the fourth, when a base hit from Vikings sophomore Tristan Ringrose — who was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI — knocked in the first run.

Fast worked out of the inning, though, and struck out two batters to open the fifth — he struck out seven across his 4 2/3 innings — before the Vikings pieced together a three-run rally, which included a two-run double from Ringrose that cut the lead to four runs.

For a moment, it seemed Puyallup’s fifth-inning spark might fuel a late comeback, but the Vikings never got closer.

Bears junior Sax Matson, a Washington State commit, took the mound with two runners in scoring position, but quickly shifted the momentum again with a strikeout to retire the side.

“Those are the moments I love to be in,” Matson said. “I really like to be there. That’s what me and Taber always talk about, being in those moments, so it was easy to just lock in and do my thing.”

Fast was confident his teammate would deliver.

“I know he can come in and shove like he did,” Fast said. “He comes in there and strikes a guy out right off the bat. It means a lot. I have a lot of trust in that kid. He’s like a brother to me.”

Matson did not allow another Vikings batter to reach base, retiring each of the seven he faced in order — including striking out three — to close out the win.

“It’s a good win,” Matson said. “We expect to win these big games. So, now we just move on to the next. We start the Round of 16 now, so anyone can beat anyone.”

Both Olympia (22-3) and Puyallup (20-4) advance to next weekend’s state regionals, which will be seeded Sunday.

Three more South Sound programs — Curtis, which won the third-place game earlier in the evening, Sumner and Tahoma — also advanced out of the bidistrict bracket and will be in the field.

_DSC4682.jpg
Olympia High School infielder Zach Fuller celebrates during the Class 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict championship game on Saturday, May 14, 2022 at Kent-Meridian High School in Kent, Wash. Olympia beat Puyallup, 8-4, for the title. Lauren Smith lsmith@thenewstribune.com

This story was originally published May 15, 2022 12:53 AM.

Lauren Smith covers University of Washington athletics for The News Tribune. She previously covered high school sports for TNT and The Olympian, beginning in 2015, before moving to the Seattle Mariners beat ahead of the 2019 season. She is a graduate of UW and Emerald Ridge High School.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.