The AA Olympic Tigers 2017 American Legion baseball team. (Jon O’Connor/Courtesy)

Olympic Tigers’ state tourney run comes to an end

Olympic Tigers’ run in the state tournament ends with loss to Kennewick

BREMERTON — An overall successful season did not end as hoped for the Olympic Tigers, as they finished the summer with two losses at the AA American Legion State Tournament.

The Tigers dropped a close game against Asotin on July 21 — with the latter breaking a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the sixth after an Olympic rally that erased a three-run deficit in the top of the inning — followed by an encounter with a powerful Kennewick squad that ended the Tigers’ tournament run on July 22.

The Kitsap squad earned the trip to Walla Walla after securing a berth in the state tournament thanks to a thrilling extra-innings walk-off victory over Lower Columbia in the Area 2 tournament. Olympic also finished second in the Area 2 North Division in the regular season with a 7-3 record.

“It’s a great experience,” said Olympic head coach Jon O’Connor of playing Legion baseball and participating in the state tournament. “They’re going to bring that back to their respective schools this year.”

Olympic High School upperclassmen Keaton Dean, Cale Dower, Jared Geier and Elijah Trottman will form the core of the Trojans baseball team, leading the way for youngsters Taylor Andrews, Jerit Clarke, Justin Finnegan and Charlie Hennessy — all incoming sophomores who represent the next wave of baseball talent.

Six players joined Olympic from elsewhere this summer as well.

Max Larsen and Ryland Schmidt should be key contributors to a North Kitsap squad looking to get back to the 2A state tournament after capturing league and district championships last season; Logan Prater, Ben Streck and Conor Trull play for Klahowya, a program consistently near or at the top of its league; and DJ Doty plays for Crosspoint Academy.

“You can’t ever beat the experience,” O’Connor said. “Although going 0-2 isn’t what we had in mind, getting to go on a cross-state road trip, having team meals in hotels, hopefully in five to six years when they look back, that’s what they will remember.”

Against Asotin, the Tigers opened the scoring in the fourth after Olympic starter Dower and his counterpart, Devin Fry, put up zeroes over the first three innings. But Asotin answered with a four-run fourth to put the eastern Washington squad ahead.

Errors in the field and too many walks issued to Asotin hitters would eventually doom the Tigers. Three of the five Asotin runs were unearned.

“When you do that, you’re not going to win very many games,” O’Connor said.

The Tigers rallied in the sixth to tie the game at 4, but Asotin scored again before bringing in their closer to shut down Olympic in the seventh.

A day later, Kennewick starter Jacob Andersen pitched a complete game four-hitter against the Tigers, keeping the their hitters off balance with a terrific pitch mix and plenty of first-pitch strikes. Kennewick rolled to a 10-1 win.

“Their offense was really potent,” said O’Connor. “They can really swing it one through nine, up and down their lineup. If you follow the tournament, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that team come out of the loser’s bracket.”

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