Newport beats Redmond 4-0, earns state berth
By JOEL WILLITS
Bellevue Reporter Former Sports Writer
May 12, 2009 · Updated 12:12 PM
As starting pitcher Colin Hering took the mound against Redmond in the bottom of the seventh inning, looking for three more outs that would clinch a state berth for Newport, senior pitcher Brandon Andreini was taking care of things in the dugout.
"Everyone go back to where you were standing," Andreini yelled, directing his teammates in the dugout back to their spots where they had been the previous inning. "Everyone needs to be where they were!"
The way Hering had been pitching, there was no need for such superstition.
After the first batter of the inning reached base on an error, the Knights let out a huge sigh of relief as Hering retired the next three Mustangs, ending the game with his 10th strikeout of the day, as Newport defeated Redmond 4-0 at Woodinville High School in the semi-finals of the KingCo 4A league tournament. The win clinched the first state berth for Newport since 2006.
"This is huge," said sophomore catcher Dan Altchech. "We always thought we had a chance to get to state. But now we know we can get there and win it."
Newport, who moved up from 3A to 4A this season, returns to that classifications state tournament for the first time since 1997, when the Knights won the state title by beating the Kennewick Lions 8-0. To do so, the Knights (14-8) had to go through Redmond, who sported the league's best regular season record and who had outscored the Knights 23-3 in the two previous meetings, both Mustang wins.
But with Hering's performance, it wasn't to be for Redmond. The senior threw a complete game, three-hit shutout, striking out 10 while walking only three.
"I was nervous all day because all I could think was that my left arm could either take us to state or to the loser's bracket," Hering said. "I just tried to block everything else out."
Hering's only trouble came in the fifth when he walked Redmond's Dylan Davis and Michael Conforto to open the inning, but came out unscathed after getting Zach Abruzza to ground into a double play. He then struck out designated hitter Chad Hui Peterson, stranding Davis at third base.
"We knew Colin was capable of doing it," said Newport coach Brian Fischer. "He's been around and the pressure isn't as much on him as it might be on the other guys."
Newport took advantage of the wildness of Redmond (18-4) starting pitcher Mac Acker, a left-hander who had faced the Knights once, a rainout in late March. Fischer said that outing told the Knights they could make Acker work to throw them strikes. The Knights finally broke through in the third inning after two wild pitches by Acker moved Brad Binder, who led off the inning with a single, to third base. After Zach Nasu walked and was thrown out stealing, Binder beat the throw back to home plate for the Knights first run.
One batter later, Altchech hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot that easily cleared the fence.
"I pretty much knew he'd throw me a fastball because I was behind on all four of them [in the first at bat]," Altchech said. "I didn't know it went over the fence, I was just kind of in the moment running."
Acker was charged with the loss, as the senior walked eight, struck out nine and threw seven wild pitches in 3 and 1/3 innings
Newport will now face off with Lake Washington on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Woodinville for the KingCo Championship, as well as the disricts No.1 state berth. Lake Washington beat Newport 10-5 on April 15, but since a 14-2 loss to Redmond on April 23, the Knights have won eight-straight.
"I don't know what we're doing differently," Fischer said. "I have no idea and I don't even want to figure it out, I just want them to keep doing it. They've just found a way."