YELM — The sharply hit ball was screaming toward the gap between center and right fields, appearing to be well out of Garrett Terrell’s reach.
The Tumwater junior, however, knew he could get there to make the catch.
Elijah Hill didn’t share his teammate’s confidence.
“I thought it was over his head,” said Hill, the starting pitcher. “I’m really glad I was wrong.”
Terrell drove in a run and came up with a huge defensive play in the sixth inning, sophomore Hill pitched a complete-game, four-hit shutout, and the Thunderbirds defeated North Kitsap, 3-0, in the regional finals of the
Class 2A state baseball tournament Saturday at Yelm High School.
With the victory, Tumwater advances to the state semifinals for the first time in school history.
The T-Birds will play in one semifinal matchup at 4 p.m. Friday at County Stadium in Yakima.
“This is huge for us,” Terrell said. “Everyone has put in the work at practice all season long. It just feels incredible to say we are going to Yakima.”
Tumwater entered the season 1-5 all time in state playoff games, last winning in 1990 against Hazen (3-1) when it was in the 3A classification.
“We told the guys at this time of the season solid pitching and great defense wins games,” said Tumwater coach Jamie Weeks. “I think we got both of those in each game today.”
The Thunderbirds, who opened Saturday by defeating Fife, 4-1, in the first round, got an impressive performance on the mound from Hill, who registered three strikeouts during the shutout.
“I thought Elijah was great for us today,” Weeks said. “He got into a little trouble early on and a little late in the game, but other than that he was fantastic. He’s done this all season for us.”
And the few times Hill was off, his defense was there to back him up.
Never was that more evident than in the sixth inning, when the Vikings had runners on first and second with one out.
North Kitsap’s Ben Tamm crushed a fastball to deep center field.
With Tumwater clinging to a 2-0 lead, a hit would have at least tied the game. Terrell’s big catch preserved the shutout.
“I got a pretty good read on the ball and was able to track it down,” Terrell said. “I really didn’t have any doubts about getting it.”
The T-Birds got two RBI from Justin Graham, the second coming in the bottom of the seventh, while teammate Tyler Oberg went 2-for-3.
Terrell picked up the win in Tumwater’s victory against Fife, limiting the Trojans to a run on two hits in a complete game.
Terrell and Clayton Boze each drove in a run against the Trojans.
“I am so proud of this team and what they have been able to accomplish. Since the start of the season our theme has been, ‘Get to Yakima,’ ” Weeks said. “Now that we are going I guess we need to come up with something else.”
Hill was quick with a suggestion.
“Why not, ‘Win Yakima’?” Hill added with a smile.