Sluggers baseball of Silverdale rallied to beat Olympia BBC 12-7 Monday to win their second tournament title in as many days.
TACOMA — Kaden Storm believed it would only take one pitch, one hit, to start a seventh-inning rally. Storm and his Slugger Baseball teammates of Silverdale did just that Monday afternoon as Storm’s leadoff double sparked a six-run comeback as the Sluggers beat Olympia BBC 12-7 to win the GSL State 15U Baseball tournament at Cheney Stadium.
“I never stopped believing in my team,” Storm said. “We were hitting the ball and we were just adding to it in that seventh inning. We got those hits going and kept the momentum.”
The Sluggers were in the same position last year but lost out to the Kitsap Renegades in the championship game.
“Since the beginning of the year we were talking about it,” Storm said. “We wanted to get back here and we wanted to make up for it (the loss). We had this date on our calendar you could say.”
Sluggers head coach Eli Herdman said he was proud of his team for gutting through the game. The Sluggers, who are made up mostly of Central Kitsap area players, were coming off a win in the title game of the GSL College Exposure Summer Series tournament on Sunday and were limited in pitchers.
“It’s our sixth game in three days,” Herdman said. “I was very happy with their performance. They’re a great group of guys. I’ve had most of these guys since they were nine years old.”
Because they’ve grown up together on the diamond, the players are confident in their abilities but also have plenty of fun in the dugout to keep the game loose.
The Sluggers started strong, taking a 5-0 lead in the first inning thanks to an RBI sacrifice fly by Brayden Buchanan, a two-run RBI from Jaiden Balagtas and a two-run triple from Brandon Silivelio.
Olympia, however, battled right back as it scored four runs in the bottom half of the inning, 5-4. The Sluggers increased the lead back to 6-4 in the second inning before Olympia closed it to within one run 6-5.
The score remained until the fourth when Olympia took the lead for the first time, 7-6, on a sacrifice RBI by Jack Hager. The Sluggers had opportunities in the fifth and sixth, with the bases loaded both times, but couldn’t capitalize.
That was until the seventh.
Storm’s leadoff double was followed by a Jordan Poland single and a sacrifice bunt by Mikey Young that tied the game at 7-7. A Chris Chase double scored the go-ahead run as the Sluggers dugout cheered wildly. With one out, Easton Herdman capped the scoring rally with a two-run home run to right field that cleared the fence at 325 feet.
“I was looking for a ball down and it happened,” Herdman said, adding he knew right away he hit a good one. Yes, the home run was fun, but Herdman was just happy to see his teammates clinch the state title. “It’s huge. After last year’s performance we were super hungry going into this game and playing a bunch of games this past weekend … (we) battled all the way through.”
“I think we really deserved this,” Silivelio added, saying he never doubted his teammates, even when Olympia took the lead.
“Coming in I never doubted us. We’ve been in these type of situations before. We just had to do what we had to do and we ended up coming out on top.”
Eli Herdman said he didn’t say anything to his players before the start of the seventh inning — no last minute words of wisdom, or a fiery speech.
“I didn’t say anything to them. They just did it all on their own,” Herdman said. “I looked at the coaches and said, ‘well, are we going to be the Sluggers in the seventh or the slugs.’
We ended up the Sluggers.”
Sluggers' Brayden Buchanan looks to the infield umpire for the call after tagging an Olympia runner at second base during the GSL State 15U baseball tournament Monday, July 8, 2019, at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma. The runner was called safe. The Sluggers beat Olympia BBC 12-7 to win the tournament. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)