The Raider baseball team is heading to state for the first time since 2002 after defeating Kittitas and Brewster last week in districts.
The first game last week on Tuesday did not turn out so well for the Raiders as Riverside Christian won the pitching duel at Eastmont.
Kramer Carlson pitched a complete game, striking out two and giving up only two hits.
Carlson was backed up by a stout defensive effort, but was let down by an offense that could not get anything going. Head Coach Brandon Byers said the offense came alive for what appeared to be a seventh-inning rally, but it was for naught as the final outcome was 1-0 with three Raider base runners stranded.
At practice on Wednesday and Thursday, Byers worked on the Raiders to have “more productive at bats and forcing the defense to make plays against us.”
In the first game Friday against Kittitas, the Raiders did just that, jumping to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, extending the lead to nine after the second.
Lee Williams was the slugger for the Raiders, going three for three with a double and three runs batted in.
Carlson, Dalton Boutain, and Tyler Garvin all had two hits and contributed to the offensive show. Brady Black returned to the mound after being on the disabled list to pitch a complete game, giving up only two runs to the Coyotes. The Raider defense backed Black by allowing zero errors for a final score of Raiders 12, Kittitas Coyotes 2.
In the second game on Friday the Raiders faced the Brewster Bears in a state-seeding contest. The winner would go on as the number-three seed from District 5-6 to Walla Walla and take on DeSales; the loser would have to travel to Adna, south of Centralia.
In the fourth matchup between the two squads this season, the Raiders attacked early and often with Black, Justus DeWinkler, and Carlson connecting for six hits and scoring eight runs.
DeWinkler was on the mound for the entire game and struck out five batters and gave up only one earned run.
The final score was Raiders 11, Brewster Bears 3.
The Raiders will now travel Saturday to Walla Walla to take on the DeSales Fighting Irish at Borleske Stadium for a 1 p.m. game. DeSales is one of the top baseball schools in the state. They’ve won 16 state championships and made the tournament every year since 1986.