Puyallup High sophomore ace Brendan Illies is making it look easy.
And for a Vikings’ team getting locked in for a run back to the Class 4A state championship game, that’s good news.
Behind a lively fastball and nasty breaking stuff, Illies piled up 10 strikeouts en route to a complete game performance, fueling top-ranked Puyallup to a 2-1 win over Kentwood in the South Puget Sound League championship game on Thursday night at Kent Memorial Field.
“I saw a good fastball, and his breaking ball was really good,” Puyallup coach Marc Wiese said of his ace. “If we can get that change-up going too, he can be tough for us in the playoffs.”
The Vikings knocked off the third-ranked Conquerors for the second consecutive year while wrapping up the top seed in next week’s West Central District tournament.
This was the teams’ first matchup since Kentwood beat the Vikings for the 4A title.
After each team got a run in the first inning, Puyallup threatened to break things open in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with no outs. But Kentwood starter Kade Kryzsko struck out New Mexico recruit Quinn Rawson looking for the first out, and then came back to force Tyler McDowell into an inning-ending double play.
The teams stayed locked in a tie until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Rawson got his revenge, lacing a two-out RBI double down the right field line to break the 1-1 tie. The junior first baseman drove in both runs on the night for Puyallup.
Illies improved to 6-1 on the season.