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Highline Pirates Win KingCo League Baseball Championship

By Martin Barrett

Pirates raise the trophy

In a solid drubbing of the Sammamish Redhawks, the Highline Pirate Baseball team won a 7-2 decision behind the pitching of Cameron Keller and solid defensive play. The victory added to the momentum born out of a heartbreaking, one-run, 7th-inning loss to the Redhawks back in early March. Coach Jonny Locher called his team to do a gut check and decide if they would pay the price it takes to become excellent and win against tough teams. Clearly, the boys heard and answered the call.

Keller dominated the Redhawks. Drawing hitters in with his fastball, he changed to his curveball later in the count. The result was a beautifully hurled mound performance that yielded only one earned run. Keller faced 27 batters and delivered 103 pitches, 65 for strikes. He gave up 3 walks while grabbing 10 strikeouts. Keller has several three-and-out innings.

Great pitching was backed by solid defense. The Pirates committed only one error in the 5th inning, which resulted in a run. But on that evening, spectators were treated with the site of Emilo Flores-Delgado and Gus Schafer putting on a clinic of “how to convert your glove into a vacuum” that sucked in every ground ball hit their way. They followed the impressive scooping, usually on the run, with accurate and quickly thrown balls to surehanded first baseman Roman Easter.

The Pirate offense began to fire up in the 3rd inning. A single by Delgado, a walk by Easter, and another single by Hawke Hansen loaded the bases with no one out. Schafer flew out to left field, bringing Delgado home. One out! Keller then grounded to shortstop, which drove in Easter. The score was 3-0 Highline with 2 out. Second baseman Ronan Rasmussen hit an elegant line drive to center, which drove home Hansen and extended the lead to 4-0 with two out. Center fielder Marquawn McCraney hit an infield pop-up, and it looked like the inning was over. However, the Redhawk shortstop dropped the ball, and an aware Rasmussen came home on the error. At that point, the wheels fell off the Sammamish wagon, another error on a Zennin Liuz grounder and a balk by the Redhawk pitcher brought the score to 7-0 at the end of the 3rd. The Redhawks never recovered.

The Pirate men collected 7 hits scattered among 5 players. They took 3 walks but gave up 11 strikeouts. Coach Locher was aggressive on the pads; as usual, the Pirates picked up 6 stolen bases by as many players.

Hawke Hansen basking in the win

Of special note is a major achievement by Senior Jacob Brown. In a very unusual and challenging achievement, Brown is the possessor of 3 league championships this year! Brown was a solid anchor on the League Champion Pirate football team. Not only was he a starter at tackle, but he was the only player to be with Head Coach Deontae Cooper since he arrived four years ago. Brown then went on to win the League wrestling championship. Now with a freshly acquired baseball trophy, he can boast a rare achievement no other person in the KingCo League can claim! As usual, the humble Brown gave credit to his teammates, but all who know Brown know that his presence on any team raises the discipline and comradery for the whole squad and elevates their play. Well done, Jacob Brown, you are a champion in every way!

Jacob Brown with his third championship:

Interview with winning pitcher Cam Keller:

Post game interview with Coach Locher:

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