State baseball: King’s Way Christian, Skyview make it back to final four

Knights beat La Center in 1A quarterfinals; Storm set to return to 4A semis

A pair of aces led to a final four-of-a-kind for the King’s Way Christian Knights.

Sam Lauderdale raises his finger to show King’s Way Christian baseball is still No. 1. The Knights, the defending state champions, beat La Center 4-0 to return to the final four. Photo by Mike Schultz
Sam Lauderdale raises his finger to show King’s Way Christian baseball is still No. 1. The Knights, the defending state champions, beat La Center 4-0 to return to the final four. Photo by Mike Schultz

Damon Casetta-Stubbs and Sam Lauderdale threw back-to-back shutouts Saturday afternoon at Castle Rock High School, leading the defending state champion Knights back to the Class 1A baseball semifinals.

The Castle Rock regional might as well have been called the Clark County Invitational. La Center beat Bellevue Christian 5-1 in the early game, then King’s Way Christian topped Meridian 1-0 in the second game.

That made it an all Trico League regional final, with a trip to the final four on the line.

Lauderdale struck out 13 in his three-hit shutout, with the Knights topping the Wildcats 4-0.

Sam Lauderdale struck out 13 in his complete game, helping King’s Way Christian beat La Center 4-0 in the Class 1A state baseball quarterfinals. King’s Way Christian is headed back to the state semifinals. Photo by Mike Schultz
Sam Lauderdale struck out 13 in his complete game, helping King’s Way Christian beat La Center 4-0 in the Class 1A state baseball quarterfinals. King’s Way Christian is headed back to the state semifinals. Photo by Mike Schultz

That regional final started 45 minutes after Casetta-Stubbs struck out eight in his two-hitter in the 1-0 victory over Meridian.

King’s Way Christian, La Center, and White Salmon all shared the Trico League title, but it was the defending state champs that are still standing now. This was the fourth game of the season between the Knights and Wildcats, with the Knights winning three times.

Still, it was an incredible run for La Center. The Wildcats won their first league title since 1998 and advanced to the state quarterfinals – the regional finals – for only the second time in program history.

King’s Way Christian will return to Yakima for the state semifinals against Cashmere to be played Friday. The championship game is scheduled for the next day, May 26.

Brannon Meriwether drove in the only run of the game in the Knights’ win over Meridian. That came in the bottom of the third inning.

That was plenty for Casetta-Stubbs. According to the team’s statistician, he only needed 69 pitches in his complete game. He issued no walks and did not give up a hit after the second inning. He retired the final 14 batters he faced.

Casetta-Stubbs then helped out his co-ace by hitting a solo home run in the second inning against La Center.

Damon Casetta-Stubbs had a huge day for King’s Way Christian at the Castle Rock Class 1A Regional. In the first game, he threw a two-hit shutout. In the second game, he hit a home run, helping the Knights beat La Center to advance to the final four. Photo by Mike Schultz
Damon Casetta-Stubbs had a huge day for King’s Way Christian at the Castle Rock Class 1A Regional. In the first game, he threw a two-hit shutout. In the second game, he hit a home run, helping the Knights beat La Center to advance to the final four. Photo by Mike Schultz

Lauderdale took it from there. He struck out 13 against no walks.

The Knights also gave him a little breathing room with two more runs in the fifth inning and another in the sixth. Lauderdale hit a sacrifice fly and Casetta-Stubbs had a run-scoring single in the fifth. King’s Way Christian’s fourth run of the game came via an error.

Lauderdale capped the game by striking out the side in order in the seventh inning, setting off a celebration as the Knights could book another trip to the Palm Springs of Washington.


Class 4A baseball

Skyview goes back to final four, as well:

It looks like it is 2017 all over again.

The Skyview Storm, just like the King’s Way Christian Knights, are going back to the state’s final four.

Skyview beat Jackson 2-1 in the Class 4A state quarterfinals – the Everett Regional finals – Saturday afternoon. Earlier in the day, it was all Storm against Inglemoor, 8-0 in the first round of the bracket.

Skyview will play in the semifinals Friday at Gesa Stadium in Pasco against Wenatchee. The 4A championship game is scheduled for the next day, May 26.

A year ago, the Storm went to the final four at Safeco Field in Seattle. Skyview lost in the semifinals but bounced back to win the third-place game.

“We have a lot of unfinished business to take care of,” Daniel Copeland told ClarkCountyToday.com just prior to Skyview’s postseason run.

Copeland threw a four-hit shutout in the 8-0 win over Inglemoor. He also had two hits and drove in two runs.

Michael Lundgren blasted a two-run home run, and Carter Hill had three hits and scored three runs.

That set up the regional final, and Cooper Barnum got the job done on the hill. He held Jackson to one run in six-plus innings of work. Ryan Pitts came in with a runner on base and no outs in the seventh to pick up the save.

 

Skyview pitcher Cooper Barnum, shown here earlier this month, gave up one earned run in six-plus innings Saturday, helping the Storm advance to the state’s final four. Skyview beat Jackson 2-1 in the quarterfinals after beating Inglemoor earlier in the day in the first round. Photo by Mike Schultz
Skyview pitcher Cooper Barnum, shown here earlier this month, gave up one earned run in six-plus innings Saturday, helping the Storm advance to the state’s final four. Skyview beat Jackson 2-1 in the quarterfinals after beating Inglemoor earlier in the day in the first round. Photo by Mike Schultz

 

Pitts not only got the save, he gave Skyview the run support. After Jackson intentionally walked the batter in front of him, Pitts made Jackson pay for the decision with a two-run triple in the first inning.

This is the second year in a row that Skyview made it to the final four after losing its first postseason game. This year, the Storm rallied from the loss in the opener of the bi-district tournament to win three in a row in the consolation bracket, setting the stage for this trip to state.

Now it’s five playoff games in a row for the Storm, who just like the Knights, have advanced to the Washington’s final weekend of high school baseball.

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