Gig Harbor sophomore Jon Burdghardt didn’t want the Tides’ state run to end.
Down 6-1 in the fourth inning, Burghardt jumped on a first pitch fastball offering from Cascade senior pitcher Ky Dye, sending it over the various signage in right center field at Everett Memorial Stadium. Burghardt knew he hit it well, but he was a little surprised how far the ball carried.
“I had no idea it’d go that far,” Burghardt said. “I thought it was going to hit the top of the sign maybe, but I didn’t expect it to go that far. It felt good.”
The two-run shot cut the lead to 6-3, but the early deficit was too much to overcome for the Tides, who lost 8-4 on Saturday to Cascade of Everett and were eliminated from the Class 4A state tournament in the first round. Gig Harbor starting pitcher Matthew Henckel struggled with his command early in the game. The junior walked four batters and hit another, giving up five runs in 1 1/3 innings against Cascade (20-4), putting the Tides in an early hole.
“He just couldn’t find the zone, so that was tough,” Gig Harbor head coach Pete Jansen said.
The Tides fought back with Burghardt’s home run in the fourth. In the top of sixth, the Tides had a golden opportunity to close the gap. Gig Harbor (16-10) loaded the bases with no outs, but senior Mason Selby popped up in the infield and senior Drew Barnett struck out. Senior Chad Glover delivered an RBI single to cut the lead to 8-4, but senior Mark Sluys grounded out to end the inning. The Tides were limited to one run in the inning and stranded three base runners. Still, Jansen looked at the big picture.
“As a coach, you kind of replay everything in the game,” Jansen said. “You think about what if we would have tried this, or done that? And like I’ve said before, it’s easy to focus on one thing. That would’ve been awesome if we could’ve got a couple hits there, but if we had done some things right earlier in the game, it wouldn’t be a four run game.”
To win in the state tournament, teams have to be clicking in all facets of the game. For whatever reason, the Tides were just a little bit off on Saturday.
“We didn’t give it our best game today,” Jansen said. “You don’t always have your best game, but we gave it a good shot. We’re really proud of our guys. They didn’t give up.”
While it wasn’t a dream ending, the Tides had a memorable season, culminating in a state tournament berth.
“We did really well,” Burghardt said. “We wanted to go a lot farther, but getting to state is a big achievement. Next year, we’ll go farther though.”
The Tides will bid farewell to a talented, vocal group of seniors and team leaders, highlighted by pitcher and outfielder Conor Scanlan, catcher Mark Sluys and third baseman Sterling Brown.
“It’s going to be a very big hole to fill,” Burghardt said. “You can’t have the chemistry we had this year, it’s going to be a hard task to fill it.”
Jansen had similar thoughts, pointing to the team’s unique camaraderie.
“Our team chemistry has been awesome,” Jansen said. “We’ve got a bunch of seniors that are really good. Some of the underclassmen today performed well. We’re going to miss them, we always miss them when they graduate. But we have some guys come up and try to fill those shoes.”Jon Manley: 253-358-4151 firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @gateway_jon