Baseball wins KingCo for the first time in 17 years

The+Vikings+celebrate+their+first+KingCo+championship+victory+since+2001+following+the+team%27s+7-3+victory+over+Skyline+High+School+on+May+9%2C+2018.

Courtesy of Sean Kauffman

The Vikings celebrate their first KingCo championship victory since 2001 following the team's 7-3 victory over Skyline High School on May 9, 2018.

Caden Frank, Reporter

When the Vikings slipped into the final slot of the KingCo playoffs, they had already reached the goal they set at the beginning of the year. Despite reaching their goal, senior Brandon Fothergill said there was still an urgency in him, knowing this was his last year performing in front of his friends, and as a part of the program.

Senior Teddy Bishop agreed.

“That thought popped into my mind for sure, like, this is my last shot to get the trophy. But I honestly was just happy that we made such an improvement and once we got to the playoffs, there was nothing to lose. We just went out there and had fun,” Bishop said.

Being the lowest seed in the playoffs, the Vikings were set to play Bothell, an elimination game in round one of the playoffs.

Junior Sean Mulcare said he felt good about the team’s chances in the playoffs from the beginning, despite being the last seed in the postseason.

“I had planned on us winning it… I knew that if we got to the playoffs we had as good a shot as everyone else did, it was all about getting in,” Mulcare said.

With the game on the line, and the Vikings leading narrowly, 2-1 in the top of the seventh, senior Zak Tuss came up to the plate. With two outs, and two strikes, Tuss came through big-time for the team with a single to drive in a run, padding the Inglemoor lead.

The Vikings closed out the game in the seventh, sending Bothell home, and advancing in the tournament after the 3-1 victory.

“We knew we had a good chance after Bothell,” Mulcare said.

Although the Vikings avoided elimination in round one, they stepped back onto the field for another tough game, a date with the top seeded Newport Knights in the KingCo semifinals.

The Vikings jumped on Newport early with a hit by Mulcare that put the Vikings up 4-1, but Newport wasn’t ready to give up. The top seeded school got the bats going, capitalized off of an error by the Inglemoor defense, and suddenly the game was tied 4-4 headed into the last inning.

“We were still pretty confident, there was no panic. If we were down going into the last inning there would have been a little bit of uneasiness, but since we were still tied we felt like we still had it,” Bishop said.

With the game tied in the top of seven, and a championship appearance within reach, Inglemoor had the bases loaded, and two outs. The Vikings needed another big hit. After a two out error by the Newport third baseman, junior Nathan Schuh walked up to the plate, his team clinging to a 5-4 lead.

With a chance to break it open, Schuh slapped a double to center, clearing the bases, and putting Inglemoor up 8-4 (their largest lead of the day).

“I felt like we kept our minds right, and that helped us in getting those four runs in the 7th, we battled through the adversity,” Fothergill said.

Newport never got back, and Inglemoor was in the KingCo championship game for the first time in over a decade.

Four days later, the 4A KingCo baseball championship game was set. It was Inglemoor versus Skyline, with the winner securing a spot in state.

Skyline pushed two runs across the plate in the early innings with senior Will Larsen on the mound. The Spartans held a firm grasp on their 2-0 lead into the fifth, and that’s when the Vikings would finally find their groove.

To start the fifth, Inglemoor’s first three hitters of the inning got on, making it bases loaded, no outs. Junior Sean Kauffman put Inglemoor on the board, with a single that would open the floodgates.

With bases still loaded, Mulcare came up to the plate and crushed a ball over the right fielder’s head, a base clearing triple, giving Inglemoor it’s first lead of the night. The Vikings continued to hit, and after a solid defensive inning to compliment the hitting, Inglemoor held a 7-2 lead with just two innings left to go.

The last innings featured no sort of comeback for Skyline, and when sophomore Jacob Liedle tracked down the final out of the game, the Vikings were champions.

The players rushed the field, piling on top of one another, and for Bishop and Mulcare, that moment topped all others on the season.

At the beginning of 2018, the thought of Inglemoor winning the league would seem like a major stretch (considering the 1-13 record the team held in 2017) yet here they are heading to state as KingCo champs.

“It was almost like a different sport. Last year we showed up just to show up. This year, everyday it’s just super fun. Winning aside, it’s just the overall mindset that we have every game,” Bishop said.

“It’s amazing what a little belief will do,” Coach Craig Bishop said.