Things may not have gone to plan for either the Capital or Timberline baseball teams in Saturday morning’s semifinal games in the West Central III/Southwest bidistrict tournament, but the Cougars and Blazers are both safely in the state tournament.
Capital lost 3-0 to Class 3A South Sound Conference rival Gig Harbor at Foss High School, behind a dominant complete game pitching performance from Tides’ junior Owen Wild.
Gig Harbor got on the board first in the second innings, when Capital starting pitcher Kyle Casperson walked in a run to give the Tides a 1-0 lead. Wild extended the Tides’ lead with a homerun to left field in the bottom of the fourth, then Zane Skansi hit another solo shot to left field to give Gig Harbor the 3-0 cushion.
But the biggest story of the game was Capital’s struggles against Wild, this year’s 3A SSC MVP.
“He’s just dominant, got a really good slide step with runners on,” Casperson said of Wild. “He’s got a really dominant fastball, throws firm, quick to the plate. He’s got a good curveball. He locates really well, pounds the zone, doesn’t walk a lot of guys. We were able to get on him in some innings, but just couldn’t execute when it counted, in clutch situations.”
Capital threatened on more than one occasion, but the Cougars were unable to cash in.
“Lately, we’ve done a really good job executing, especially offensively, and today we just didn’t get it done in big spots with guys in scoring position,” said Capital coach Brian Shannon. “We just weren’t able to execute and make it happen.”
Still, the Cougars are still safely in the Class 3A state tournament, as Saturday’s semifinal and final games were played to determine the top four seeds.
“We’re ecstatic, headed back for the third year in a row,” Casperson said. “We haven’t gotten to the final four yet, so hopefully we can make a run this time. Putting the pieces together at the right time.”
Even with Saturday morning’s loss to Gig Harbor, Capital has still won seven of its last nine games.
“Middle of the season, we kind of challenged the kids to take more ownership of things, put it back on them,” Shannon said. “We were struggling early on. A lot of guys have stepped up. We just continued playing our aggressive brand of baseball and putting pressure on our opponents. It worked out, our pitchers have thrown well.”
Shannon said senior Zach Burke emerged late in the season with some great performances on the hill.
“Just having some of those older guys step up on the mound,” Shannon said. “And offensively, just continuing to put pressure on teams and getting our kids to believe in ourselves, because they’re really good baseball players.”
Timberline lost its semifinal game to Mountain View, 5-1. Timberline and Capital played later in the day for the third/fourth seed, with the Blazers beating the Cougars, 14-3 at Foss High School.