After a week of intense competition at the state championship against Washington’s best baseball teams in the 4A division, the Skyline Spartans finished fourth, while the Lake Washington district champs, Eastlake, fell early.
The state tournament opened May 21 with 7th seed Eastlake facing 10th seed Tacoma. Grady Woodward led in runs, followed by Blake Borup, Noah Weintraub, and Cole Murasaki who added one run each. Bryce Johnson provided his teammates plenty of offensive opportunities with three hits and the highest batting average of the game to give the Wolves their first win, 5-2, and an opportunity to continue to the next round.
Skyline’s first game against West Valley (Yakima) Rams was also on May 21. Notably, Skyline entered the tournament as the 14th seed and West Valley was seeded 3rd. Despite the seemingly sharp difference based on rank, the Spartans pulled off the surprise win, powering through to defeat the Rams 4-2.
Without pause, both teams continued onto their second game on the same day. Eastlake faced the Puyallup Vikings, the 2nd seed. The unfavorable match up ended predictably with Eastlake losing 5-1. Thanks to Puyallup’s strong pitching, the Wolves bats were held to a 0.192 average for the night, notably lower than previous games. The combination of struggling bats and a 5.83 earned run average by sole pitcher Dylan Skolfield meant the Wolves could not overcome the Vikings. The loss brought Eastlake’s seven-win streak, as well as their season, to an end.
Meanwhile, Skyline faced the 11th seed Sumner Spartans for their second tournament game. In the battle of the Spartans, Skyline pulled out another 3-0 win. Thanks to pitcher Madox Nicola, Sumner’s batters were left scoreless in 4 2/3rd innings, keeping them scoreless for a Skyline shutout and a shortened game. With the victory, Skyline moved onto the semifinals for the first time since 2016.
This time on May 27, Skyline faced the 2nd seed, Puyallup, who defeated Eastlake in their last game. A strong Spartan defense kept Puyallup’s score lower than in their previous games, but ultimately, the Vikings were victorious over the Spartans with a 3-1 win. The loss forced Skyline to the losers bracket to face the 4th seed Richland Bombers for third or fourth place.
The Spartans finished the tournament with a loss to Richland on May 28. Unable to defensively outmaneuver the Bombers, Skyline fell short 3-1 to end their state bid in fourth place, performing better than expected.
During the 4A district tournament earlier in May, Eastlake placed first while Skyline finished third. But Skyline found its groove at the state tournament, while the Wolves could not carry their momentum forward.
The final bracket for the state tournament can be found here.