Kennedy ousts St. Paul 13-6 in second round of playoffs
The No. 3 Kennedy baseball team returned to the quarterfinals after defeating the St. Paul Buckaroos 13-6 on May 22 in the second round of the 2019 2A/1A state playoffs.
The Trojans (26-2, 18-0 Special District 2) scored 11 runs over a two-inning stretch to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 12-4 advantage in winning their 13th consecutive game and 22nd in their last 23 games.
"It was a nice, tight game," Kennedy head coach Kevin Moffatt said. "St. Paul hit well. (Starting pitcher Dylan Kleinschmit) was solid. He wasn't as sharp as he has been, but he gave us a chance to win and kept us in the game long enough that we could get the bats going a little bit."
The Buckaroos entered the game looking to continue the momentum from winning their first state playoff game in program history on May 20 when they downed the Santiam Wolverines 2-0. The Bucks (16-14, 8-10 SD1) had won three straight elimination games in the seventh inning and had an early lead over the Trojans.
Kennedy opened the game with a double to left field from leadoff batter Sam Grosjacques, who was driven in by teammate Demetre Marseilles to take an early 1-0 lead.
St. Paul returned the favor, scoring three runs to go up 3-1 before the Trojans went on offensive run, plating six runs in the bottom of the third. The Bucks took one back in the fourth to cut their deficit to 7-4, but Kennedy went on a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning led by senior Angel De La Rosa.
Looking to make something happen at third base, Moffatt instructed De La Rosa to make a break for home and attempt to force St. Paul into committing a mistake.
"We've literally never done it, so I'm explaining it with one strike," Moffatt said. "He had about 12 seconds. Just take off and try to draw a balk."
The Bucks went to pick him off at third base, but by that time, De Rosa had made his move and ended up beating out the throw at home. The play sparked a string of four more runs, putting the Trojans up 12-4 and giving them a comfortable advantage they held throughout the final three innings.
"That definitely got the guys going," Moffatt said.
Kennedy was led offensively by Grosjacques, who was 2-for-4 with a walk and a pair of runs scored. Bruce Beyer reached base four times, going 2-for-2 while drawing a walk and taking a pitch, scoring twice.
Sophomore Camryn Biegel made another big play for the Trojans, hitting a two-out single to drive in a run. The Bucks threw home on the play to prevent the score, allowing Biegel to advance to second. St. Paul attempted to pick him off, but the throw missed the mark with no one backing up the play, allowing Biegel to advance home.
"The team came barreling out of the dugout after that," Moffatt said. "He's been a sparkplug for us."
It was the type of play that has kept Kennedy near the top of the state rankings all season. The Trojans have gone nine straight games scoring in double figures without the benefit of a powerful hitter in the lineup.
Kennedy is tied for second in the state in runs scored at the 2A/1A level, a mark Moffatt credits to the team's crisp base running and strong presence up and down the lineup.
"You have different guys carrying us," Moffatt said. "It's not just the two or three guys carrying us, it's really been a group effort."
Kennedy returns to the quarterfinals for the seventh time in the past nine years. The team was scheduled to host No. 6 Grant Union (18-6, 14-0 SD7), with the winner advancing to the May 28 state semifinal game.