Kingston High baseball team making third straight trip to state

Kingston High first baseman Danny Orr leaps for a ball as Fife’s Tyler Stevens tags safely May 14 at Legion Field in Bremerton.  - Brian J. Olson/Staff photo
Kingston High first baseman Danny Orr leaps for a ball as Fife’s Tyler Stevens tags safely May 14 at Legion Field in Bremerton.
— image credit: Brian J. Olson/Staff photo

KINGSTON — The Kingston High baseball team is hoping the third time will be their charm.

The Buccaneers open state tournament play Saturday against the Sehome High Mariners at Auburn Mountainview High School in Auburn. It’s the Bucs’ third trip to state in as many years, and the Mariners are a familiar opponent. Kingston lost to them in the first round of the 2008 playoffs.

“It’s going to be a totally different team, but I imagine the competition is going to be the same,” Kingston outfielder Austin Overton said.

Each of Kingston’s prior trips to state have pitted the Bucs against the toughest opponents at the Class 2A level. Sehome went on to win the 2008 tournament. After the Bucs were ousted in the second round last year, the team that beat them — Cedarcrest — also went on to win the title.

“We’ve seen big challenges in two years,” Kingston coach Scott McKay said.

The Bucs have also overcome some toilsome tests this year. Most of the team’s starters (including the star pitcher) graduated last year. McKay has relied on what he calls, “pitching by committee,” using a rotating cast on the mound. The Bucs still finished the regular season with their best record ever, at 14-5 overall and 13-3 in league play. They also took first at last weekend’s district tournament. They placed second the past two years.

“It seems like every year we’ve graduated some great kids, and yet, we keep reloading and going back at it,” McKay said.

The pitching committee included senior Matt Ramstead and juniors Josh Herrera and Nick Torento, who went 13-1 combined.

“The real positive big surprise was those three kids, and the other kids filling in around them,” McKay said.

The Bucs got support from players like sophomore Richie Sander, who came in late during a district playoff game against Fife last week to secure a win.

The team’s success this year didn’t surprise the players.

“We’ve been playing together since we were 11 or 12,” Overton said. “We expected to come in and play the same kind of baseball that we’ve been playing all along, which is winning baseball.”

Saturday’s game will be another test.

“Hopefully we learned from last year and we’ll get at them this year,” McKay said.

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