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By SPENCER GLEASON
Daily News Sports Editor
The baseball gods seemed to stack the cards against Ketchikan High School Kings on Thursday.
The team that traveled the farthest distance — nearly 800 miles — had the early game on the first day of ASAA state baseball tournament.
And the Southeast’s top-seed marking didn’t mean much because the Kings were the “visiting” team against the Southcentral Conference No. 2 seed Colony High School Pirates. Kayhi wasn’t the home team due to a pregame coin toss.
But regardless of the visiting or home team scenario, and how far Kayhi traveled to Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage, the Kings put that aside. They took care of the only business they had control of — the game between the lines.
The Kings beat the Pirates 9-3 in the state quarterfinal, and advance to the state semifinal against West Anchorage High School at 4 p.m. on Friday.
West Anchorage is the Cook-Inlet Conference No. 2 seed, and beat West Valley High School 10-0 on Thursday afternoon.
The Kings made a statement with their first two hitters of the game ripping extra-base hits.
Brock King hit a double, and Liam Kiffer followed that with a triple.
King scored on the base hit, and Kiffer came all the way around to score on an errant relay throw to give the Kings an early 2-0 lead. And they never looked back, as they plated runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
Up and down the lineup, the Kings were able to put the bat on the ball. Everyone in the lineup either tallied a base knock, scored or recorded an RBI.
Kiffer finished the day going 3-for-5 with a run scored and two RBIs. Gavin Salazar was 2-for-5, with two runs scored and an RBI. And CJ Paule was 2-for-3, with a run scored and an RBI.
On the mound, Wyatt Barajas tossed five innings of four-hit ball. He threw 97 pitches, 51 for strikes, and struck out four Pirates.
King relieved Barajas in the sixth inning, tossing the final two frames.
King threw 34 pitches, 22 for strikes, and struck out two while walking none.
Tournament Notes: The Southeast No. 2 seed Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears fell to Wasilla High School 10-3 on Thursday. The loss drops the Crimson Bears to the consolation bracket. As such, last year’s state champion’s best possible finish this season can only be fourth place.
They’ll play North Pole High School at 1 p.m. on Friday.
North Pole fell to Chugiak High School 13-3 on Thursday.
Chugiak is the top seed from the Cook-Inlet Conference, and will play Wasilla in the semifinal game at 7 p.m. on Friday, following Kayhi’s game.
Should the Kings win the state tournament, it would be the third straight season a team from Southeast has claimed the top spot in the state.
Sitka High School won the state title in 2016. Juneau-Douglas won it all last season.
The Kings were the third-place winners in last year’s state tournament.