If you are going to hang a fastball across the plate, Mason Martin is going to give it a ride.
Martin hit a pair of doubles and a solo home run, and Lane Hailey drove in three runs to lead Southridge to a 12-5 victory Friday over Kennewick in the MCC/GSL 3A regional playoffs at Southridge High School.
“I think since I have seen a lot of off-speed stuff this year, they tried to challenge me with the fastball today, and maybe try and catch me off guard with it,” Martin siad. “But I was ready for it. This is a big win. The first playoff win is the biggest. It’s a good way to get the team going.”
The Suns will play Kamiakin at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the championship game. The Lions (11-11) will play Mt. Spokane in a loser-out game at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
“We wanted to practice on Monday and we get to do that,” said Kennewick coach Lenny Ayres, whose team beat Shadle Park 13-3 earlier in the day. “We are in the tournament, and we are still alive. Our kids have to go out and win two games to move on. We have the ability on the mound, we have the ability at the plate.”
After Southridge starter Wyatt Hull silenced the Lions’ bats in the top half of the first inning, the Suns went to work.
Martin belted his first double of the day to the right-field fence, Hailey put him across the plate with a single, and Nick Grade reached on an error.
Back-to-back RBI singles by Grant Marston and Casey Proctor gave Southridge a 3-0 lead.
Martin made it 4-0 Suns in the second with a two-out solo home run.
“He is seeing the ball well,” Southridge coach Tim Sanders said of Martin. “Barrels on, balls up. You put good wood on it and that’s what’s going to happen.”
Kennewick pushed one run across the plate in the fourth, only to see the Suns rise to the occasion with back-to-back RBI doubles by Jake Harvey and Martin for a 6-1 lead.
Hull started to fade in the fifth and the Lions jumped all over him.
Trent Sellers and Brayden Collier led off with singles, and Talon Lafontaine got a free pass to first because of catcher interference.
A two-run single by Easton Stevens made things interesting, and Kyle Benton pushed another run across the plate to pull the Lions within 6-4.
The fifth inning also took a bite out of Kennewick starter Cooper Shelby. He left the bases loaded for Christian McWain, who promptly gave up a two-run double to pinch-hitter Brendan Tool.
Noah Weber brought in a run, and Hailey drove in two with a single to left and things quickly got out of hand at 12-4.
“Kennewick is obviously a good club and it will be a battle, we know that,” Sanders said. “We put up a three-spot early, they came back at us and we answered. That’s what we have been doing all year. We put some quality at-bats together. When someone does that to you, you have to answer.”
Having a guy like Tool come off the bench to dial up a big hit also is a bonus.
“We preach it is a program deal, a pitching staff deal. It’s every guy in here,” Sanders said. “We believe in all of them. It’s wonderful to have him (Tool) sitting there and know we can go to him.”
Kennewick was able to manufacture one run in the sixth, but it wasn’t enough.
“They do things fundamentally good,” Ayres said of the Suns. “We hit ground balls, they make a play. We hit a line drive, they double us off. They play the game pretty sound all the way around. They pitch it well, they play good defense.”
Highlights: K, Jacob Anderson 1IP-2H-0R; Trent Sellers 2x4, R; Easton Stevens 1x3, 2 RBI. S, Wyatt Hull 4.1IP-5H-3ER-2K-2BB; Mason Perez 1.2IP-1H-0ER-1K-1BB; Tyson Daniels 1IP-0H-0R-0BB; Jake Harvey 2B, RBI, 2R; Mason Martin 3x3, 2 2B, HR, 2R, 2 RBI; Brenden Tool 2B, 2 RBI; Lane Hailey 2x3, 3 RBI; Grant Marston 3x4, 2 RBI.