Kent All-Star teammates mob Patrick Sanchez, far left, after the shortstop hit a game-winning, walk-off home run against FME/Steel Lake in an elimination game Thursday at Sunset Park in Auburn. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Kent All-Star teammates mob Patrick Sanchez, far left, after the shortstop hit a game-winning, walk-off home run against FME/Steel Lake in an elimination game Thursday at Sunset Park in Auburn. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Shooting stars

Kent survives elimination game, plays for District 10 championship against rival Auburn on Saturday

Down a run in a game they had to have, the Kent All-Stars dramatically pulled one out to play for another day.

Patrick Sanchez drilled a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, lifting Kent past Fife-Milton-Edgewood (FME)/Steel Lake 3-2 in a Majors Division District 10 semifinal playoff game at Auburn’s Sunset Park on Thursday night.

Kent advances to play rival Auburn, defending district champion, in the championship game at noon Saturday at Sunset Park. Kent, which lost to Auburn 2-1 earlier in the double-elimination tournament, needs to win to force a second, winner-take-all game Saturday. Game 2, if needed, will start around 3 p.m.

Rain scrubbed the original 6 p.m. Friday start to Game 1.

FME/Steel Lake’s season came to an end.

At stake for Kent is pride and an elusive state berth. Kent hasn’t been to state for several seasons.

“Auburn’s a good team, without a doubt. It’s going to be tough to get through them,” said Kent manager Ernie Hernandez. “They have great pitching … great team. We know them. We played against them for the last three years through summer ball. … Good athletes over there. It’s going to be very competitive. It’s going to come down to pitching and defense.”

Against FME/Steel Lake, it came down to a swing of a bat.

After Zachary Hernandez led off with a single to right, Sanchez stepped to the plate to rip a line-drive shot that carried about 260 feet over the left-field fence. After trotting around the bases, teammates mobbed Sanchez at home plate.

“Very strong kid,” Ernie Hernandez said of his standout shortstop. “He’s been (hitting home runs) during the regular season, and his bat’s been hot throughout this whole tournament with a lot of base hits, line drives … as you can see.”

Kent put up two runs during a walk-filled first inning, but FME/Steel Lake scored two of its own to even it up.

Kent had its chances, leaving the bases loaded in the fourth and stranding two more base runners in the fifth.

Miles Ducharme beat out an infield single, scoring Eli Nordling from third base to give FME/Steel Lake a 2-1 lead in the sixth.

“My hat’s off to these guys here. Incredible. They played their heart out,” Ernie Hernandez said of FME/Steel Lake. “In my opinion, they probably could have won this game. Luckily, we had the last up (to bat).”

Elsewhere

Earlier in the tournament, Auburn defeated FME/Steel Lake 17-3 on Tuesday in a battle of unbeatens.

Tai Dumakilewe and Emilio Feliciano launched home runs and Landen Richards belted a grand slam for Auburn.

The Kent All-Stars’ Ethan Loghry delivers a pitch during his stout performance against FME/Steel Lake on Thursday. Loghry pitched into the sixth inning before reaching his 85-pitch limit. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

The Kent All-Stars’ Ethan Loghry delivers a pitch during his stout performance against FME/Steel Lake on Thursday. Loghry pitched into the sixth inning before reaching his 85-pitch limit. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

More in Sports

Ravens scramble back, zero in on division title

Auburn Riverside sweeps challengers to remain unbeaten in duals

Flores becomes Lions’ all-time leading scorer

Senior scores 26 points in Auburn Mountainview’s 53-51 loss to Ravens

Wedman hat trick leads Thunderbirds past Royals 6-4

6,021 teddy bears collected for first responders | PHOTOS

WWU’s Taylor, an Auburn Mountainview grad, takes second in the high jump at Dempsey Indoor meet

Western Washington University’s Maddie Taylor, a 2014 Auburn Mountainview High School graduate,… Continue reading

Auburn baseball makes coaching change

Mentink out after 5 seasons; Elliott steps in as interim coach

In the spotlight

Trojans roll to dual win in visit to the PAC

Thunderbirds speed past Swift Current

Richards has two goals in 5-3 win over Broncos

T-Birds jolt the roster

Flurry of deals: goalie Hughes, Andrusiak traded as WHL team fills needs, gains prospects and draft picks

Former T-Birds star Barzal makes NHL All-Star Game

Player shined in four seasons at Kent’s ShoWare Center

Nelson, Russell grab weight titles as Ravens settle for third at Herren showcase

Hanson captures 152-pound title for Auburn Mountainview

The Thunderbirds’ Zack Andrusiak celebrates after scoring one of his four goals against the Winterhawks on Saturday night. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds
Thunderbirds fall to Winterhawks in wild game to end 2018

Andrusiak has four goals in 8-6 loss to Portland

Thunderbirds goalie Liam Hughes reaches to make one of his 30 saves against the Cougars on Friday night. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds
Cougars claw past Thunderbirds

Mount scores in 2-1 loss to Prince George