State Baseball: Tenino reaches 1A semifinals for first time this decade


Fueled by the 1-2 punch of Kellan Knox and Jack Burkhardt on the mound, the Beavers stand as one of the last four teams remaining in Class 1A with a 3-0 triumph over Lakeside (9 mile) and cruising past Lynden Christian 12-2 on Saturday at Parker Field in Yakima.

Fifth-seeded Tenino (19-6) will play in the semifinals for the first time since 2013 next Friday at Joe Martin Stadium against eighth-seeded Overlake-Bear Creek at 7 p.m. It is a rematch of the season-opener which the Beavers won 12-2.

“There’s not a whole lot of feelings to compare it to,” Beavers head coach Ryan Schlesser said. “We expected to be here. Our motto is pressure is privilege. To be able to get it done is pretty special.”

Knox tossed a no-hitter against the Eagles, striking out nine and dancing out of four walks. Tenino had several chances to breakthrough – loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first and having at least a runner in scoring position the next two innings – but couldn’t.

Come the fourth, it did.

Cody Strawn and Knox registered back-to-back run-scoring triples for all the insurance Knox needed. The Oregon recruit got out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth with the go-ahead run at the plate. He proceeded to induce a flyout and notch a strikeout.

“He has been lights out,” Schlesser said of Knox. “Been mixing in his slider a lot more. He’s taking pitching to that next level and becoming really scary.”

Burkhardt “filled it up” per Schlesser and tossed a six-inning, six strikeout gem. The tall right-hander allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in two of the first four innings, but none reached scoring position.

“He would be a (number) one (pitcher) on a lot of other 1A teams in the state,” Schlesser said. “He didn’t let them do anything.”

The Beavers broke out in the final three innings, scoring four runs in the fifth and seventh frames and three in the sixth. Austin Gonia and Mikey Vassar each recorded four RBIs with the latter roping two triples. Will Feltus had three hits, helping the top three hitters in the lineup aid the heart of the order.

Tenino’s top five batters had all 11 RBIs and nine of the 14 hits.

“It was that release of tension,” Schlesser said. “Everybody clicked at the same time and became contagious.”

A lot has changed for Tenino and Overlake-Bear Creek since the start of March. Which leads Schlesser to believe it will be a much different game.

“They’re riding Cloud 9 right now. I expect them to have a lot of confidence,” he said. “They will be tough.”