Bucs baseball pounces at district tourney

BREMERTON — The Kingston Buccaneer baseball team is alive for another day of postseason play.

BREMERTON — The Kingston Buccaneer baseball team is alive for another day of postseason play.

On Tuesday evening during a district playoff game at Legion Field in Bremerton, the Bucs hammered the Nisqually League’s No. 3 team, the Steilacoom Sentinels, 10-0 in six innings.

The win advanced the Bucs to round two of the district tournament.

Head coach Scott McKay said Kingston’s diamond dynamites relaxed once the game started. If they were feeling playoff pressure it didn’t show.

“The kids came out hitting the ball really well and put a lot of defensive pressure on Steilacoom,” he said. “It was a really well-played game. It’s the kind of game we need to feel more confident going into the next level of play.”

McKay’s words are modest at best.

Kingston posted 10 hits off 13 runs and didn’t have a single error for the day. Eight Bucs — Robert Jordan, Kyle Murray, Chris Jones, Theron Rahier, Tyler Sullivan, Curtis Wildung, Taylor Zehrung and Robbie Wright — each had a hit, a run and RBI or a combination of all three.

The story from the mound is even more impressive.

The Bucs’ pitching powerhouse Tyler Sullivan has a favorite letter — K.

Sullivan threw heat from the mound the entire six innings, which included a jaw-dropping nine strikeouts. Sullivan’s control was on target he only gave up two hits in the 18 Sentinel batters he faced.

Sullivan and the Bucs’ defense retired Steilacoom’s lineup in order, each inning, every inning.

“He (Sullivan) had a real dominating performance,” McKay said. “He’s definitely one of the better pitchers around the area. He’s a competitive kid that loves to pitch.”

In the top of the first, Sullivan got things rolling, striking out the lead batter. The remaining two grounded out.

Kingston got on the board early with one in the bottom of the first. But the way it happened was a “little crazy,” McKay said.

Jones was in the midst of stealing third when Steilacoom’s catcher attempted a throw to third for the out. Instead, the ball hit Jones on the back as he was sliding and then deflected to the outfield. Jones shook it off and ran home.

The Bucs tallied two more runs in the second off a Sullivan single, two RBI hit that plated Murray and Wildung.

In the top of the third, Sullivan claimed all the outs as he retired Steilacoom’s lineup in order. And when it was the Bucs turn at bat, they added another five runs to widen the lead, 8-0.

“Score-wise that was a big inning for us, we got half of our runs,” McKay said. “But it was an inning where Steilacoom’s youth showed. They had two errors for the inning. If you can make a team earn all their runs, you’re going to stay in the game, but that’s high school baseball.”

From the third inning on, the Bucs’ bats tapered off, adding one run in the fifth and the game-polishing run in the sixth.

But its crafty defense, namely Jordan, executed one of the best double-out defensive plays McKay said he’s seen all year long, from any player on any team.

“Oh, this was a pretty cool play,” he said.

In the top of the fifth Steilacoom had a runner on first base. The next batter up hit a hard line drive just slightly to the left of third baseman Jordan. The runner on first base, thinking it was safe to go, headed to second base. But he was wrong and changed his course back to first base. It was too late. Jordan made a lunging stab and caught the line drive, got his feet back under him, and made the throw back to first to double the runner off the bag.

“Robert not only made the play, but gathered himself and threw a BB to first, which beat the runner by about a step,” McKay said.

Tuesday’s win assured the Bucs a game against the Nisqually League’s No. 1 team, Fife. The game was played yesterday at Legion Field. Results were not available at presstime. The winner of the Fife/Kingston matchup plays the winner of the Sequim/Klahowya contest today. The losing teams of those games also play today.

To advance to the regional tournament as district champions, the Bucs needed to win two games in a row. To advance to regionals as the No. 2 seed, the Bucs must win two of three games. Either way, the Bucs are happy to be participating in postseason play.

“A win’s and win and when you got to have it to keep playing, the kids are excited to know they get to keep playing,” McKay said.