Cheney was expecting a little finesse when it stepped to the plate against Capital. Instead, the Blackhawks got nothing but heat.
On the strength of a 14-strikeout performance by Darren Tinnerstet, Capital advanced to the State AA baseball final with a 6-1 win over Cheney. Tinnerstet struck out the first eight Blackhawk batters he faced.
Capital was ahead 5-0 by the time the Blackhawks had their first hit.
“We just weren’t ready for them,” said Bryan Miller, who batted over .500 for the Blackhawks this season. “Rumor was he was a finesse pitcher.”
Instead of throwing a variety of pitches, Tinnerstet stuck with the basics. “I was just going with my fastball; my curve just wasn’t that effective,” said Tinnerstet, whose previous strikeout high was 13.
Despite being unable to hit, the Blackhawks trailed just 2-0 after four innings. It was the fifth inning where the Cougars put the game out of reach.
Cheney pitcher Tucker Urdahl gave up just three hits through the first four innings, but he gave up a leadoff double and walked four straight batters in the fifth.
Capital also benefited by two wild pitches and a sacrifice fly, allowing three runs in the fifth.
“I was a little out of control,” said Urdahl, who finished with six strikeouts and six walks.
The Blackhawks’ first hit came on a misplayed infield pop-up by Pat Stiffler. The only other Cheney hit came on a similar miscue, when the Capital right fielder overran a pop-up.
“He challenged us,” Urdahl said of Tinnerstet. “We kept expecting him to throw off-speed, but he didn’t. He deserved a no-hitter.”
Ryan O’Conner was 2 for 2 with a double, two runs and an RBI for the Cougars.
Cheney is 17-7 and Capital is 20-4.
Capital faces Gig Harbor (22-2) in the championship today at noon. Cheney faces Lake Stevens (16-10) for third place following the championship game.
Gig Harbor beat Lake Stevens 5-3.