Klahowya baseball scraps way back to state

Klahowya’s Rusty Devitt, shown last week in a big win against Fife, upped the ante this week with a no-hitter against North Mason to vault Klahowya to state.  - Photo by Jesse Beals
Klahowya’s Rusty Devitt, shown last week in a big win against Fife, upped the ante this week with a no-hitter against North Mason to vault Klahowya to state.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

TACOMA — Who knew David Neet was so prophetic?

After the Klahowya Eagles fell in 10 innings to Eatonville in the second round of the 2A West Central District III baseball tournament Friday, the Klahowya coach was confident his squad would bounce back in Saturday’s winner-to-state, loser-out game with North Mason, the third battle between the teams this season.

“It’s Brady Harris and Rusty Devitt and I’m calling Rusty the victor,” Neet said after the loss to Eatonville, comparing North Mason’s starter with his own.

Little did he know Devitt was about to make Klahowya history.

Devitt led Klahowya to a 7-0 win against the Bulldogs Saturday at Bellarmine Prep, throwing a no-hitter to advance the Eagles to the school’s fourth state tournament and first since 2003. The Eagles will be the district’s No. 3 seed.

“I think we showed them who we are,” Neet said. “We keep putting Klahowya on the map and we did it again (this weekend).”

In an epic opening game, No. 6-ranked Eatonville jumped on Klahowya starter Eric Eley early for five runs in the first two innings.

But Eley responded, and North Mason would get just two hits against him the rest of the way in the Eagles’ 6-5 loss in 10 innings Friday at Tacoma Community College. Eley worked nine innings, seven of them allowing no runs, before the Cruisers finally broke the tie.

“Eric pitched one of the best games I’ve ever seen him pitch,” Neet said. “The team played one of its best games. The kids played with a lot of heart. They played to win. The defense pulled us through and Eric was helping it out. I’m proud of these guys.”

That said, the first effort against the Cruisers was one Neet would liked to have pulled out.

“It’s tough, you know?” he said. “With this team, when we start hitting they come in bunches. We were hitting well, but we just couldn’t get that one run in.”

Neet said the game was a testament to both high school squads.

“You don’t get to 10 innings in high school ball on accident,” Neet said. “There was good defense and good pitching by both teams.”

The loss set up the loser-out with North Mason, a team that swept the Eagles in two regular-season meetings.

Devitt was on fire in the no-no effort, and got help from the bats of Josh Ryan (1-2, 2 walks, run, RBI) and Brandon Neet (1-3, run, RBI). It’s those kind of efforts in the clutch that David Neet said the Eagles would need to move on at state.

“When our backs are against the wall, we come through,” he said.

Klahowya will battle Sehome, ranked third in the state for 2As, at 10 a.m. Saturday in Anacortes in first-round regional competition.

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