Liberty baseball team advances, Highlanders done

May 10, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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NEW — 1:50 p.m. May 10, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy Liberty High School first baseman James Workman claps as he trots to home plate, after scoring the Patriots' first run in a 10-0 win over Foster May 9.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Liberty High School first baseman James Workman claps as he trots to home plate, after scoring the Patriots’ first run in a 10-0 win over Foster May 9.

Despite a regular season record below .500, and a seventh-place finish in the eight-team KingCo 3A/2A Conference, the Liberty High School baseball team is headed to state.

After a two-win day in the District 2/3 2A baseball tournament May 9, the Patriots are guaranteed a state regionals berth. They’ll continue district play next week to determine which seed they’ll get.

Liberty didn’t have to travel at all for first-round district play, hosting games at the high school on Saturday.

After playing mostly 3A teams in KingCo, the Patriots, as the KingCo No. 1 seed, began its first foray into the 2A playoffs with a lot of success. That’s what it’s called when you score 10 runs in the opening game, and toss a no-hitter while you’re at it.

Liberty needed only five innings to discard Seamount League foe Foster, 10-0, in the first game.

In a game that started relatively tame, with just 1 run scored in the first two innings, Liberty erupted for five runs in the third inning, and added four more in the fifth.

The Patriots opened the scoring in the second, when Nick Gunn drove in James Workman on an RBI double.

All nine Patriots came to the plate in the five-run third inning, highlighted by Newcastle resident Torey Anderson’s triple and a pair of doubles courtesy of Tyler Haselman and Workman.

Workman, Haselman and Gunn each led the team with two hits, while Gunn was the Patriots’ RBI leader with two.

Meanwhile, on the mound, Liberty pitcher Nate Steffens couldn’t be touched. Steffens threw five innings of no-hit baseball, struck out 10 Foster Bulldogs and didn’t walk a batter. He was just an error shy of a perfect game.

With one win under their belts, the Patriots played again later that day, defeating Olympic, 5-0, to advance in the winner’s bracket.

Against Olympic, Steffens showed he could do damage with his bat, too. Steffens, this time playing center field, went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.

Anderson got the start for the Patriots this time and he went on to throw a seven-inning shutout. He, too, had a 2-for-3 day at the plate.

Gunn picked up two more RBIs in the Olympic game, while Eddie Delgado went a productive 2-for-3 with one RBI at the plate.

Liberty is back in action 1 p.m. May 16 against Fife at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. If they win, they’ll play in the district tournament championship at 4 p.m.

State regional play is May 23, and the final rounds of the state tournament, should the Patriots advance, are May 29-30 in Yakima.

Hazen bounced from districts

While Liberty went from a lackluster regular season, to some early postseason success, the opposite is true for the Highlanders.

After ending the season with a 13-1 conference record, and clinching a share of the Seamount League title, Hazen made a quick exit in the District 3/4 3A baseball tournament May 9.

Hazen lost to Kelso, 5-1, in the first round, before losing to Capital, 12-6, in the double-elimination tournament.

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