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Bainbridge Majors slug their way to state
The Bainbridge Majors all-star team is on its way to the state tournament.
The team made its fans sweat a little bit this week. After dominating the competition in the first four games of the district playoffs by a score of 34-2, Bainbridge lost to South Kitsap Western 10-7 Wednesday night. The team rebounded in a big way the next day, taking down South Kitsap 17-2 in four innings.
"We just hit the snot out of the ball," said Bainbridge coach Doug McCombs.
Bainbridge was the only undefeated team coming into the finals, meaning they only had to win one game, while South Kitsap needed to win two in a row.
The state tournament begins July 25 at Art Mikelsen Field in Port Orchard.
In earlier contests, McCombs said his team relied more on the home run than advancing runners and timely hits. In this battle, Bainbridge put the ball on the ground and made South Kitsap defend.
The Bainbridge bats were hot from the start. The team scored four runs in the first inning and tacked on another one in the second.
"We jumped on them early and never looked back," he said. "They were never in the game. We just kept hammering them. If they made mistakes throwing the ball over the plate we hit it hard," he said.
Bainbridge's offense showed up for both games, but it was the pitching that made the difference. Trevor Schulte started the second game, threw all four innings and only had one slip up, a two-run home run in the third inning. South Kitsap used its best pitchers in the first game, and Bainbridge was able to take advantage, McCombs said.
Bainbridge then put on an offensive show. In the third inning the team swung its way to eight runs and followed that with four more in the fourth.
Bainbridge started Wednesday's game off with a bang as leadoff hitter Blake Swanson belted a home run over the rightfield wall on the first pitch.
Bainbridge had South Kitsap reeling in the first inning, scoring two more runs. Carter Kraus took a walk; and two batters later Riley Hawken was hit by a pitch. A single by Gareth Gindeland brought the two runners home, making the score 3-0 after the first.
South Kitsap responded with two runs to make the score 3-2.
In the second inning, Kraus hit a home run. Kitsap matched Bainbridge’s run in the second inning, making the score 4-3.
McCombs said his players were looking for the right pitches to hit.
“We went into this game looking for fastballs,” he said. “We hit their mistakes.”
The action picked up again in the fifth inning. Hawken, Gindeland and Duncan McCombs loaded the bases. Hawken, and Sam Maracich, who was running for Gindeland, both scored on passed balls.
In the top of the sixth, Kitsap ran away with the game by putting up six runs. Bainbridge attempted to rally as Garret Riely knocked a home run over the centerfield wall, but the team couldn’t pull all the way back.
McCombs said he enjoyed the competitive series between the two teams for the second year in a row.
"We've had a great rivalry for two years," he said. "They won last year, and this year it's Bainbridge's turn."