SEATTLE – For five seniors on the Skyview baseball team, a victory Saturday was just desserts.
For 10 juniors and five sophomores, a weekend at Safeco Field just whetted their appetite.
Skyview defeated Kentwood 7-4 Saturday to claim third place in the Class 4A state playoffs. The Storm overcame an early 3-1 deficit to claim their highest finish since winning the state title in 2013.
Shaking off a 5-4 loss in Friday’s semifinals to Puyallup, Skyview scored four runs in the sixth to turn a 3-2 deficit into a comfortable cushion.
“It’s definitely the greatest feeling to go out with a win to end your senior season,” senior Brody Barnum said. “We wish we could have won one more, but it’s definitely a good feeling to say the five of us ended our senior season with a win.”
However, six of nine Skyview starters Saturday are not seniors.
They include Daniel Copeland, who overcame a rocky start to pitch six innings, retiring the last nine batters he faced.
They include Michael Lundgren and Max Rose, who went a combined 6 for 8 with four runs scored in the middle of the batting order Saturday.
And they include Liam Kerr, Hunter Renne and Carter Hill, who at the bottom of the order did the little things that added up to a big inning.
In the four-run sixth inning, Kerr had a key sacrifice bunt to go along with an RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. Renne followed the bunt with an RBI single to tie the game 3-3. Then Hill hit a grounder that Kentwood’s third baseman threw away, allowing two more runs to score.
“In close games, we have the ability to play some small ball,” Skyview coach Seth Johnson said. “Those are things we work on every day in the batting cages – bunting, hit-and-runs, driving people in from third base.”
Skyview (18-9) and Copeland didn’t get off to the best start. He allowed three runs in the first two innings and eight hits in the first three.
But after the leadoff hitter in the fourth inning singled, Copeland did not allow another runner on base.
“At the beginning, I felt a little tired,” he said. “But the strength of the team and the atmosphere pulled me back in it.”
Kentwood (18-8) of Covington beat Skyview 4-0 to open the bi-district tournament on May 9. The Storm went on to win three games in which a loss would have stopped their season short of the semifinals at Safeco Field.
“You can’t beat experience,” Johnson said. “These guys are going to come in on Feb. 27 and hit the ground running. They’re going to have the confidence that comes from playing in these four intense playoff games.”
Copeland will be among the returners who have every intention of making a state-title run next year.
“We’re definitely a lot more hungry now,” he said. “We fell a little bit short, but we’ll be back next year. We’re going to be strong.”
And for seniors like Barnum, playing two games at the home of the Seattle Mariners has provided lasting memories.
“Every memory, every play, every at bat, I’m going to remember forever,” he said.
SKYVIEW 7, KENTWOOD 4
Skyview 010 104 0—7 12 0
Kentwood 120 000 1—4 8 2
Pitching – Daniel Copeland 6 IP, 5 K, 4 BB; Nick Jennings 1 IP, 1 K, 1 BB.
Offensive highlights – Tanner Jacques 2-4; Brody Barnum 1-4; Michael Lundgren 3-4, 3 R, 2 SB, 2B; Max Rose 3-4, R; Nick Jennings 1-4, 2 RBI, R; Liam Kerr 1-1, R; Hunter Renne 2-3 R, RBI.
Pitching – Cole Trotignon 5 IP, 3 K, 0 BB; Ben Langehough 0.1 IP; Chase Martin 1.2 IP, 1 K.
Offensive highlights – Tre’Sean Steele 2-4, R, SB; Shane McGuire 2-3, R, 2 RBI, 3B; Cole Trotignon 2-4, RBI, 2B; Cade Harris 1-3; Nick Roes 1-2, R, SB.