Kennedy edges Decatur 4-3 in Saturday contest
By Chuck Mingori
The Kennedy Catholic baseball team won three out of four games in five days this past week to improve to 13-1 overall, including a narrow, 4-3 victory at Decatur on a cool, but dry Saturday morning.
“We knew it was going to be a close game,” said Kennedy baseball coach Jesi Dolejsi, whose team had not allowed a run until the final inning. “Even all the way into the seventh inning. This game is going to be a close game. This game is not over ‘til it’s over. Even up 4-0 with him throwing the way he (Kennedy pitcher Micah Hagler) was, I knew that they had the potential to get a string of hits, It’s high school baseball. We still have to make some plays.”
Luckily for coach Dolejsi and the Lancers, shortstop Peter Hollabaugh made the final play of the game when he snagged a hard-hit line drive that left the tying and winning runs on base.
“I knew if we could get into their bullpen, we’d have a chance,’ said Decatur coach Chris Fox. “And we did. We just fell a hit short.”
Kennedy scored in the top of the first when two hits sandwiched around a wild pitch pushed across a run. Kennedy plated three more runs in the third. The Lancers would have added another had Decatur catcher Jack Bergstrom not managed to chase down a wild pitch on a walk and throw out a runner at the plate trying to score from second.
The Decatur senior, who is headed to Tacoma Community College, made another defensive gem in the fourth inning when he hustled down the first base line to back up an infield throw and then tossed to first to make the out on the baserunner, who started to go to second.
The Gators also gunned down a runner at third on a hit and run by Kennedy. Bergstrom then caught a Lancer trying to steal second in the sixth to save another run.
Fox was proud of his team’s overall performance and feels good about where his team is headed.
“We’re young. We’re a sophomore and freshman-laden team. I’m excited for the future here,” he said.
Zach Hatcher relieved Hager for the Lancers with Decatur rallying in the seventh inning. Decatur drew a walk off Hatcher on a full count before registering the final out. The Gators took advantage of two walks, a hit batter, a fielder’s choice and three singles to make the game close in the seventh inning.
Kennedy collected 10 hits off two Decatur pitchers with Hagler’s three base knocks leading the way. On the mound he pitched 6.2 innings allowing three hits and three runs while striking out 10 batters. He allowed one walk and hit one batter.
“I was not surprised with how well he threw today,” said the Kennedy coach of his pitcher Hagler. “He struck out a lot of batters and just threw a lot of strikes. That’s exactly what he has been doing for two years, not just today.”
Decatur coach Fox said he knew what to expect from Kennedy. He also is familiar with Hagler and Peter and Coleman Hollabaugh, having coached the three before in the Federal Way area in youth ball.
“It’s bittersweet sometimes when you play against kids that you have coached,” he said.
Kennedy has a big test this week with two games scheduled against unbeaten Tahoma, at home on Thursday and away on Friday. Also remaining is a make-up against Federal Way at home next Monday and two against Kentwood. The Lancers have a non-league game scheduled against North Kitsap on April 28.
“We still have the gauntlet to go through,” Dolejsi said.
Federal Way shut out Kennedy, 9-0, last Tuesday, but the Lancers posted 5-3 and 11-2 wins against Mount Rainier on Thursday and Friday.
Decatur, 7-5 overall and 3-5 in district, plays Kentridge on Monday and Tuesday and Kentwood on Thursday and Friday.