TACOMA - Sunshine and earning two victories to close out the regular season made a long day easier for the Capital Cougars on Saturday.
Capital earned the No. 2 seed from the 3A Narrows League and solidified itself a spot in the West Central District III baseball tournament with its 9-5 win over Foss at Foss High School. Earlier Saturday, the Cougars defeated North Thurston, 8-3, in a nonleague game at refurbished Cheney Stadium for its third win in as many years at the home of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.
“It was a long day, but it was a lot of fun,” Capital coach Eric Stark said.
Capital, which earned a first-round bye at the league tournament, next plays the winner of Tuesday’s Foss-Wilson game on Wednesday at Tacoma’s Heidelberg Park.
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Capital 8, North Thurston 3 (Cheney Stadium): The Cougars got to North Thurston starter Ben Reece early, putting up five runs in the third inning to take a 6-1 lead. Capital batted around in the third, pounding out four hits and walking three times. Jonny Lee, who was 2-for-2 in the game, had a two-RBI single to drive in Jourdan Weiks and Jordan Coleman in the third.
Capital also got a great outing from Blake Ask, who came in as a pinch-hitter and went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run to left field, his first homer of the season, to extend Capital’s lead to 8-3.
The Rams were limited to four hits against the pitching combination of Kameron Miner, Curran Collins, AJ Davies and Thomas Kerr. Two of three of the Rams’ runs were unearned.
“We didn’t swing the bats very well at all,” Rams coach Lance Baker said.
Back-to-back outfield errors by Capital in the afternoon glare opened the way for North Thurston to score two runs in the sixth inning. Ryan Mets had an RBI walk and Riley Storedahl had a sacrifice fly.
The game was played as a tribute to Will Johnston, a North Thurston senior baseball player who was killed in a car accident in October.
In memory of Johnston, all Rams players and coaches wore red shirts with “Will” on the front and “Johnston” on the back with the No. 23. There was a moment of silence before the game, and Johnston’s mother, Carrol, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
North Thurston, which resumes 2A Evergreen Conference play this week, must win all three games against River Ridge and Tumwater to earn a district berth.
“It’s in our hands,” Baker said.
Capital 9, Foss 5 (Foss High School): Jourdan Weiks, making his third start of the spring, pitched four scoreless innings to pick up the victory.
He previously started against Hudson’s Bay and Gig Harbor in nonleague contests.
He helped himself at the plate with a double and a home run – one of three Capital homer in the two games.
The Capital offense carried over from the win over North Thurston, pounding out nine runs in the middle innings to take a 9-0 lead going into the home half of the fifth.
Ryne Wilmes (2-for-4), Weiks (2-for-4) and Miner (2-for-3, HR) did most of the offensive damage.
“We’ve been hitting the ball better of the past two weeks,” Stark said. “We’ve started to get more consistent at-bats and doing a better job of manufacturing runs. We’ve been doing the little things we weren’t doing.”