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Bucs take second district title in program history, prepare for Regionals | Baseball
SILVERDALE — The Buccaneers varsity baseball team sure turned things around.
For a team that was unsure it would make it to the district tournament, the Bucs stepped up their game, And, for the second time in program history, they became the West Central District III champions May 12, defeating Sumner 7-3 for the title.
The team is headed to Regionals, which precedes the 2A state tournament. The Bucs face Lynden in the first round Saturday at 10 a.m. at Yelm High School, 1315 West Yelm Ave. The winner will play either W.F. West or Bellingham the same day at 4 p.m.
The state tournament will be held May 25-26 at County Stadium in Yakima.
Though the team took home its second district championship, the tournament wasn’t without its personal accomplishments.
Kingston’s Richie Sander threw a no-hitter against Franklin Pierce May 8. Josh McLeod allowed a single hit against White River the following day.
Though Sander did walk a few players May 8, the no-hitter was a memorable experience for the senior player. He credits the Buc defense for making it happen.
“I just had a lot of help,” he said. “They made it easy on me.”
Of those defensive plays, Benny McMullen and Beau Rabideaux made “a few great plays.” Catcher Chandler Setterlund called a great game, Sander said.
At some point in the game, Sander said pitching a no-hitter is in a pitcher’s head. They know it can happen. He said he just kept changing the speed of his pitch and location of the ball.
“It was pretty cool,” Sander said. “Unfortunately I had a couple of walks — hit a couple of guys — but it was pretty awesome.”
The Buccaneer defense has been the backbone of the varsity team this season.
“It’s just the way we’ve been playing all year,” coach Jeff Tapp said. “Pitching has been phenomenal, with the defense to back it up.”
The team’s ERA is about 2.6, Tapp said. There could be a lot of excuses to make — weather earlier in the season, etc. However, the team stuck with it and persevered, Tapp said.
Like any team, if the defense misses a beat at Regionals or State it’s going to be a struggle. Tapp said the key will be to keep pressure on Lynden while keeping runs down.
“If the defense falters, it’s going to be a struggle for anybody,” Tapp said. “The obvious answer is we have to hit better than the other team.”
The district championship has raised the team’s confidence. The team feels it can play anybody, Tapp said. That’s the attitude he wants them to take into Regionals. No matter what, the Bucs need to assume each game from now on is the toughest of the season.
“We’re going to play things our way, and things will land as them may,” Tapp said.