Puyallup defeats Gonzaga Prep to clinch berth in state semis

Vikings earn trip to Pasco with wins against Gonzaga Prep and Edmonds-Woodway

Staff writerMay 28, 2014 

Puyallup’s Levi Jordan scores a run on passed ball against the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups on May 24 at Heidelberg Park in Tacoma. Jordan’s run gave the Vikings a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning.

DREW PERINE/NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF PHOTO

The Puyallup Vikings baseball team is packing its bags this week for a trip to the Class 4A state semifinals in Pasco.

Puyallup ace pitcher Luke Heimlich pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing just three hits in the Vikings’ 2-0 victory against the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups (22-4) in the Class 4A quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at Heidelberg Park in Tacoma. The game was tied 0-0 through the first four innings of play. The Vikings got on the board on Levi Jordan’s single up the middle in the top of the fifth, scoring courtesy runner Tristan Cleek from second base for a 1-0 lead. Cleek was running for Heimlich, who started the inning with a leadoff double. Jordan added an insurance run when he scored on a passed ball, extending the Vikings’ lead to 2-0. Jordan said Heimlich isn’t the kind of pitcher who requires a sizable lead.

“Getting Luke any kind of lead, even if its a one-run lead, you know he is going to get the job done. He is really a top notch confident pitcher and our entire team has confidence in him,” Jordan said.

The Vikings managed just four hits off Gonzaga Prep ace pitcher Justin Blatner, but it was enough with Heimlich dominating on the mound.

“Luke is really good. He is a workhorse, pounds the zone and is gritty. He is a difference maker for us,” Vikings’ head coach Marc Wiese said. “I’m pretty proud of that young man.”

Heimlich, who finished with seven strikeouts, said his team’s defense was on point throughout the contest.

“Today I wasn’t on my strikeout stuff as much but I was able to get a lot of ground balls. I know I can trust our defense to make plays. I knew Zach Needham (second baseman), Levi Jordan (shortstop) and Adam Stump (third baseman) were going to make the plays behind me,” Heimlich said.

The Vikings are just two games away from earning the program’s first state baseball championship and know what is at stake in Pasco on Friday and Saturday.

“The pressure is always on. We like that pressure. It feeds our intensity and it feeds us,” Jordan said. “We’re going to take it one game at a time and we want to go as far as we can go. Our next goal is to win the state championship.”

Wiese said his undefeated squad is ready for the challenge.

“These guys are 26-0 and got an opportunity to make history. We’re just going to play hard and if it is meant to be, then it is meant to be. We’re just going to have fun,” Wiese said.

 

VIKINGS WIN NAIL-BITER AGAINST EDMONDS-WOODWAY

 

Puyallup Vikings senior pitcher Lane Griffin came through in the clutch against the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors.

The Vikings, who were clinging to a 1-0 lead, faced adversity with the Warriors loading the bases with just one out in the top of the sixth inning. Griffin responded to the challenge by getting Marc Campagnaro to fly out to center field for the second out, then striking out Brett Stoneman for the third and final out to quell the threat. Both teams didn’t score in the seventh inning and the Vikings held on for a 1-0 victory in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

“Lane threw a couple of really good pitches. That strikeout pitch on the breaking ball was amazing. He did an outstanding job,” Wiese said.

Griffin, who allowed just four hits in seven innings of work, said he did everything he could to remain calm when the bases were loaded in the top of the sixth.

“I was trying to stay relaxed. When the bases are loaded it seems like everyone kind of wants to speed up the game but I was just trying to slow it down again and try to make good pitches,” Griffin said.

Puyallup’s lone run came in the bottom of the fourth on Tyler McDowell’s single to center field scored Quinn Rawson from second base, giving Puyallup a 1-0 lead it wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the game. McDowell went 2-for-3.

Shaun Scott: 253-552-7002 Twitter: @herald_shaun

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