YAKIMA — Stetson Plew tossed a three-hit shutout, and Kennewick scratched together enough offense to get by the Hazen Highlanders 4-0 in the first round of the 3A state baseball playoffs Saturday morning at Yakima County Stadium.
Plew set down 11 in a row during one stretch and had the Hazen batters frustrated all day. He escaped a jam in the first inning with one of his 11 strikeouts, giving up a double to put runners at second and third with two out. He walked none and hit two batters in a masterful performance.
The Highlanders also threatened in the sixth, with a one-out hit batter and then a single to right. But Lions outfielder Troy Fulton, after kicking the ball trying to field it, threw a bullet to third to get the runner trying to take an extra base.
Kennewick scored a run in each of the first and second innings, taking what Hazen gave up. A ball between the wickets at short scored a run in the first, and Trek Stemp tripled over the head of a drawn in center fielder in the second to score Sam Guin, who started it all with a two-out single back up the middle.
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The Lions' patience at the plate -- making Hazen starter Jimmy Schmidt throw 45 pitches in those first two innings -- paid off in the fifth, when Guin and Stemp both squared up a couple sharp singles. One out later, JJ Hancock singled in Guin, and then Jarod Gonzales hit a fly to right-center that probably should have been caught. But Hazen's outfielders narrowly avoided a collision, and the ball fell in for an RBI double.
It was more than enough for Plew and the Lions, who await the winner of the upcoming Kamiakin-Mt. Spokane game here at 1 p.m. Kennewick will play the winner at 4 p.m. for a berth to the state semifinals.