SUMNER BASEBALL: Spartans earn state baseball berth

After a quarter of a century of patiently waiting, Sumner High’s baseball faithful are being rewarded with a trip to the state tournament.

Sumner earned its state Class 3A berth by beating North Kitsap 4-3 at Puyallup’s Heritage Park Complex.

The Spartans begin their state adventure at 1 p.m. Saturday at Centralia’s Wheeler Field, taking on Mercer Island. If they win, the Spartans would play again at 4 p.m. against the winner of a matchup earlier in the day between Columbia River and Highline.

John Welker, coach of Sumner’s baseball club, said he hopes that his troops will just relax and enjoy their hard-earned ticket to the big dance.

Sumner did baseball battle with a tough Camas team Saturday at Foss High School’s Heidelberg Field in the seeding games and lost to the Papermakers 6-4 despite the outstanding starting pitching of junior Cameron Steffey and clutch hitting of juniors Tanner Brinkman and Tyler Hidalgo.

Brinkman, who Welker cited as being a catalyst for the Spartans all year long, and Hidalgo, who is playing with pain much like half of the now rather thinly spread Sumner High bunch, both went 3-for-3 with a double from the dish Saturday afternoon.

The gritty Hidalgo smacked a line drive double to score speedy pinch runner Matt Wilson from second and knot the score at four going into the bottom of the seventh frame, before Camas responded with a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to help claim the 6-4 victory.

A coin was flipped for seeding purposes and Sumner won to claim the seventh seed, while Columbia River’s Chieftains got the eighth and final seed out of Districts 3 and 4.

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