There are only 16 teams still playing Class 3A baseball this season, and Timberline High School is one of them.
That was coach Mark Rubadue’s message to the Blazers after Saturday’s loss in the 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament title game.
No, Timberline did not win a district championship. Gig Harbor won that, 1-0, in a matchup of veteran pitchers at Foss High School.
But the Blazers (18-6) are still headed to the 3A state tournament, where they’ll open against O’Dea (15-6) at 10 a.m. on May 20 at Pasco High School.
“We are ready for state, definitely,” Timberline senior Tucker Stroup said. “That was our goal, to get to state.
“It would have been nice to win this (game), but it really has no effect on us in state. We’re ready to go.”
Stroup recorded the loss for Timberline, despite allowing the one run on five hits. He struck out six.
“I know they’re a good hitting team, so I’m trying to pitch to contact,” Stroup said. “I think I executed that well, got a lot of ground balls today. We made some great plays out there.”
The only blemish came in the third, when Gig Harbor’s Cameron Brooks and Johnny Schmidt strung together back-to-back singles to lead off the inning.
RJ Green then knocked a sharp grounder into right center for a single to score the run.
“They’re a tough team,” Rubadue said. “We’re right there with them. … One hit defined it. If we find a hit, maybe we’re the winners, 1-0 or 2-1. Just a good, competitive game.”
Logan Gerling pitched a four-hit shutout for Gig Harbor (20-5), and struck out six.
Timberline stranded five base runners, including two in scoring position with one out in the second inning, and couldn’t get much going offensively.
“You don’t really take too much from (the loss),” Rubadue said. “You go and try to win a district title, but the reality is, it’s all about next week.
“This game really is for seeding and trying to win a district title. We came close.”
The Blazers won a semifinal earlier in the afternoon, 10-7, against Bonney Lake to advance to the title game.
Capital 4, Central Kitsap 0: The Cougars will return to the state tournament for the first time since 2010 after completing a long road at Curtis High School.
Capital (15-10) won three consecutive consolation games against Peninsula, Prairie and, finally, Central Kitsap to earn the tournament’s final state-playoff berth.
Travis Tallman tossed the shutout for the Cougars, allowing three hits in seven innings, while striking out five and walking two.
Capital scored three runs in the first inning. Grady Lindekugel walked before scoring on a double to left by Tanner Johnson.
Kyle Johnson walked, setting up a single to right by Sam Condon that scored Tanner Johnson from second. Kyle Johnson stole home two batters later.
The Cougars added a run in the sixth when Condon scored on an error after doubling to left. Condon led the Cougars, finishing 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Capital plays Mercer Island (16-2) at 1 p.m. May 20 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue.
Central Kitsap 6, Yelm 4: The Tornados fell one game short of playing for a 3A state-tournament berth at Curtis High School.
Yelm’s season ended at 12-9.
2A SOUTHWEST DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
Play was suspended due to weather in a winner-to-state, loser-out game between Black Hills (13-7) and Centralia (9-7) on Saturday in Chehalis. It will resume at 3 p.m. Monday at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.