Kendrick baseball team claims district championship over two-time defending state champion Troy

May 12—OROFINO — The Kendrick, Potlatch, Clearwater Valley and Troy baseball teams on Saturday were playing for pride — and for hardware.

All four teams had already secured spots in the Idaho Class 1A state tournament that starts Wednesday at Capital High School in Boise. The Rams of Kooskia downed the Loggers 3-1 in the third-place game. For the Tigers and the Trojans, the Whitepine League championship was on the line — and the title ended up in the hands (or paws) of Kendrick.

The Tigers downed Troy 10-2 at Orofino Champion Park to claim their first district title in several years.

"From the last time we saw (Troy), we knew that if we give any of our pitching staff a big lead, it's a really hard time (for opponents) to try and come back," Kendrick coach Kyle Jones said. "We just know we can hand that off to them and if we do our parts with the bats, the pitching staff is going to take care of everything."

While still heading to the state tournament regardless of the result, a district championship was always on the short list of goals for the Tigers.

Here's how they accomplished that feat:

Deja vu in Orofino

Kendrick and Troy competed for the regular-season Whitepine League title on May 3 at Clearwater Park in Lewiston. That game played out similarly to Saturday's championship bout — even the final score.

In both games, the Trojans (17-5) took an early advantage, but the Tigers came back, then pulled ahead a couple of runs before putting up an offensive showing late to total 10 scored runs. Even the starting pitchers were the same in both games.

If it wasn't for different venues, the deja vu would've been flowing in abundance.

Troy's Wade Moser kicked off the scoring with an RBI single in the top of the first. Kendrick (15-7) immediately responded in its side of the frame. A balk charged to Trojans pitcher Joseph Bendel brought in Xavier Carpenter to tie the game and an RBI single from the Tigers' Wyatt Fitzmorris brought Kendrick up, 2-1.

It was the last time the Trojans led during the game.

Bendel got the run back one inning later with a single of his own to knot up the game, this time at two runs apiece.

The Kimberling brothers, Nate and Mason, each brought in a run during the bottom of the third to pull the Tigers ahead, 4-2.

Then came the moment (or moments) when Kendrick truly broke away.

Tigers go running

In the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers scored three times via Troy errors. The Trojans committed half of their 10 blunders in the fifth.

With the Tigers up 7-2, Ralli Roetcisoender hit an RBI single. Two at-bats later, Carpenter brought two more to home plate with a single of his own for Kendrick's final tally.

"I was seeing, when I was at the plate, the other team — they were getting frustrated," Carpenter said. "They weren't working together as a team as well, so I took an opportunity at those moments."

Carpenter led the Tigers' battery with two hits.

Kendrick was at-bat for so long in the bottom of the fifth that Ty Koepp, who led off the inning, closed it out nine at-bats later.

The inning was also long enough that not one, not two, but three fans in attendance got to test out their sun canopies and umbrellas as shields for wayward foul balls.

Results varied.

Littlefield shows out

In another case of deja vu from the previous meeting, Kendrick starter Noah Littlefield went the distance and came out on top of an early pitching duel with Bendel.

Littlefield struck out seven batters in seven innings pitched and earned his second straight win.

Tigers turn?

With only two conferences at the 1A level, it's guaranteed every year the Whitepine League will send multiple teams to State. It's also pretty certain that the state champs will come from the Whitepine League.

Since at least 2010, all state champions have been from the WPL.

Clearwater Valley, Kendrick, Potlatch and Troy are the representatives from northern Idaho this year. The Trojans are the two-time defending state champions, the Loggers are multi-time state champs in their own right and the Rams haven't yet cleared the hurdle to win State, but they've been close.

The Tigers, known more in recent years for their proficiency in basketball and football, believe they're capable of being the next team from the Whitepine League to win it all.

The team set out the season with three goals: win the league, win Districts and win State.

Kendrick has checked off two out of three.

"It's been fantastic to watch these guys grow and learn and start to develop that confidence," Jones said. "We can put people away and we can win these big games day-in and day-out. They've realized that all we have to do is stay within ourselves and everyone do (their) job."

The Tigers will see if they can accomplish that last goal when they play Idaho City in the Class 1A state tournament at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at Capital High School.

Clearwater Valley 3, Potlatch 1

OROFINO — Landon Schlieper's complete game at the mound helped facilitate a Class 1A district third-place win for Clearwater Valley of Kooskia against Potlatch.

The victorious Rams (15-7) enjoyed two hits from Talon Meyer and a double by Carson Schilling as they defeated the Loggers (8-6) for the first time in three attempts this season. Potlatch got a double from Jack Clark.

Both teams advance to the Idaho 1A state tournament at Boise's Capital High School, where Clearwater Valley will play as the North No. 3 seed and Potlatch as North No. 4.

Troy 101 000 0— 2 6 10

Kendrick 202 060 x—0 4 0

Joseph Bendel and Makhi Durrett; Noah Littlefield and Wyatt Fitzmorris.

Troy hits — Bendel 2 (2B), Dominic Holden 2, Durrett (2B), Wade Moser.

Kendrick hits — Xavier Carpenter 2, Fitzmorris, Nate Kimberling.


Clearwater Valley 020 100 0—3 7 1

Potlatch 001 000 0—1 3 1

Landon Schlieper and Tiago Pickering; Jameson Morris and Jay Marshall. W—Schlieper; L—Morris.

Clearwater Valley hits — Talon Meyer 2, Carson Schilling (2B), Thomas Wellard, Barak Meyer, Tiago Pickering, Jake Fabbi.

Potlatch hits — Jack Clark (2B), Waylan Marshall, Jameson Morris.

Kowatsch can be contacted at 208-848-2268, or on Twitter @Teren_Kowatsch.