Olympia High School ran out of dramatic endings Saturday night, dropping the Class 4A baseball state championship game, 5-3, to Moses Lake at Gesa Stadium in Pasco.
The Bears, who had rallied for a two-out walk-off win over Issaquah in Friday’s semifinals, were “devasted” said second-year coach Derek Weldon. But Weldon knows his team’s place in Olympia baseball history.
“This is the greatest team ever to wear the O,” he said. “In 100-plus years, Olympia’s never made it to the state championship game before.”
The Bears (18-10) were underdogs throughout the postseason. They’d finished fourth in the 4A South Puget Sound League, but won three out of four games in the West Central/Southwest Bi-District tournament to reach state as the #6 seed.
Victories over highly-ranked Federal Way and Skyline on the first Saturday of state sent Olympia on to Pasco where the Bears trailed Issaquah, 2-0, with one out in the seventh. They had yet to hit safely on either Eagles’ starter Brady Liddle or reliever Joseph Warner when Michael Came’s single loaded the bases.
Mason Meconi cleared them with a double and Olympia’s unlikely run to the title game continued.
“That gave us tremendous momentum, but Moses Lake had some momentum, too,” said Weldon. “When you get to the title game, both teams got there because they’ve been playing well.”
Saturday night against Moses Lake (23-3), in a game that ended in a downpour, the Bears ran into the vagaries of baseball. After trading first-inning runs with the Chiefs, scoring on a triple by Kevin Flannery and an RBI single by Clyde Twitty, Olympia gave up a four-spot in the second fueled by a pair of bloop hits and some successful Moses Lake small ball.
The Bears pared the margin to the final score in the fifth on a two-run triple by Jake Doughty. They loaded the bases in the sixth, putting the potential go-ahead run on, but couldn’t score.
It was Moses Lake’s first state title in 38 years and the Chiefs had to beat each of last season’s finalists, champion Richland and runner-up Skyview, to get there.
“We had a shot, but that’s baseball,” Weldon said. “It’s been a great ride. I’ve never been prouder of a team. We’ve got a selfless group of guys with a lot of grit.”
Of the 20 players on Olympia’s postseason roster only Twitty, Flannery and Tristan Long are seniors. Making it to the ultimate game promises to give the Bears a boost heading into next season.
“We work hard and really challenge our kids. We have a plan in place to get to state,” Weldon said. “If our guys didn’t believe in it before, they do now. There’s a lot of motivation to get back to that point, to win a state championship.
“Our players showed they can handle big-game pressure. There’s no doubt they can handle it again in the future.”
State track wrap up
In 2A boys, Tumwater was the runner-up with 46 points, bolstered by a title from Brian Le in the 400 (49.89). His was also the only local individual title in the meet. Sequim won the team race with 61 points.
Here’s a list of South Sound athletes who reached the podium (top eight, top four in team) at the 4A/3A/2A track and field state championships at Mount Tahoma. Champions are in bold.
400 —Will Anderson, Olympia (fourth, 49.12); 3,200 — Ethan Coleman, Olympia (eighth, 9:16.74); triple jump — Drew Thompson, Olympia (seventh, 43-4 3/4).
400 — Ava Wolin, Olympia (fifth, 58.32); 800 — Katelyn Rigg, Olympia (fifth, 2:15.36); shot put — Beatrice Asomaning, Olympia (sixth, 40- 1/2); discus — Beatrice Asomaning, Olympia (first, 146-7); javelin — Camryn Wilson, Olympia (sixth, 130-3).
800 — Samir Amin, North Thurston (eighth, 1:56.04); 3,200 — Bryce Cerkowniak, Yelm (sixth, 9:24.59). 1,600 relay — Capital (Clayton Grady, Jeremy Spence, Kaden Decker, Oliver Salmon) fourth, 3:24.15; discus — Elliot Clary, Yelm (fourth, 152-0), javelin —Chayton Miller, Yelm (fourth, 167-4); pole vault — Colby Wilson, Capital (second, 15-6); triple jump — Jamarcus Graham, Timberline (fifth, 45-1).
100 — Ashley Babkirk, Timberline (seventh, 12.93); 800 — Emily Jackson, Capital (seventh, 2:17.04); 300 hurdles — Victoria Silverman, Shelton (sixth, 46.37); Alexis Sapegin, Yelm (eighth, 47.12); 400 relay — Timberline (Destinee Robertson, Brandi Gardner, Haylee Ward, Ashley Babkirk) third, 49.63; 1,600 relay — Capital (Emily Jackson, Lexi Solis, Kaya Frost, Kyra Skipworth) fourth, 4:04.53; shot put — McKenzie Salazar-Fox, Shelton (fourth, 41-3 1/2); Chloe Di Bisceglie, Abigail Pedro, Timberline (eighth, 40-8); discus — Carissa Stovall, Yelm (second, 138-0); high jump — Abigail Carlson, Yelm (second, 5-5); Jessica Neal, Timberline (T-sixth, 5-0); triple jump — Arianna Bush, Timberline (second, 38- 1/2).
400 — Brian Le, Tumwater (first, 49.89); Brad Blackburn, Tumwater (fourth, 50.25); Drayden Alexander, River Ridge (seventh, 50.73); 800 — Pearse Popchock, Black Hills (fourth, 1:57.7); 110 hurdles — Sir Carter, Black Hills (third, 15.06); 300 hurdles — Sir Carter, Black Hills (second, 39.42); 1,600 relay — Tumwater, second, 3:22.94; River Ridge (Drayden Alexander, Jacob Miller, Peniamina Mapu, Isaiah Parker) seventh, 3:30.29; shot put — Ty Gilliland, Tumwater (third, 52-1 1/2); discus — Ty Gilliland, Tumwater (third, 165-10); javelin — Jordan Claridge, Black Hills (fifth, 157-0); high jump — Trent Kibler, Tumwater (third, 6-4); pole vault — Matthew Jenkins, River Ridge (third, 13-0).
200 —Taylor Woodworth, River Ridge (eighth, 26.96); 400 — Taylor Woodworth, River Ridge (second, 57.61); Olivia Bailon, Tumwater (third, 58.15); 800 relay — Tumwater (Mikaeli Decker, Natalie Sumrok, Alyssa Duncan, Jordan Hanson) fifth, 1:46.06; 1,600 relay — River Ridge (Raquel Robinson, Taryn Lucas, Jordyn Thomas, Taylor Woodworth) fifth, 4:06.89; javelin — Natalie Sumrok, Tumwater (second, 127-9); Dasani Robinson, River Ridge (fourth, 123-9); high jump — Maisy Williams, Black Hills (T-second, 5-2); long jump — Maisy Williams, Black Hills (fifth, 17-0); Alyssa Duncan, Tumwater (eighth, 16-8 1/4).