Ben Ray / The Reporter
Christopher Moore went six strong innings against Stanwood.

Ben Ray / The Reporter Christopher Moore went six strong innings against Stanwood.

Kentlake blanks Stanwood 5-0 in state tournament opening round

Falcons win behind solid performance from Christopher Moore.

The 2024 3A North Puget Sound League champs showed they can put a complete game on the field when it matters. Kentlake played Stanwood in the opening round of the high school state tournament May 14 at Kent-Meridian and defeated the Spartans 5-0.

“I keep telling the kids, it’s not about who is the best, but who is the hottest down the stretch. We’ve been slowly building through the league and districts,” Skipper Mike Suguro said.

Sophomore Christopher Moore got the ball for the Falcons and was as advertised. He threw six innings, allowed just three hits and struck out 12 — and had Stanwood hitters off balance all evening.

“I was feeling pretty pumped up. I just wanted to do it for the seniors. One more game together means a lot,” Moore said.

Part of Moore’s impressive season is that he is such a cerebral pitcher. His mid-to upper-80s fastball is what he’s known for. But his secondary pitches, the slider and curveball, were on another level against Stanwood. His ability to get ahead using all three pitches is just one of the many things that makes him great.

“It’s crazy with how young he is, the amount of presence he had... We know guys are going to sell out for heaters. We can see they are cheating for fastballs, so we know and have confidence to spin it over for strikes. It keeps hitters guessing,” Suguro said.

Kentlake’s offense is also now clicking on all cylinders. All of the first five hitters in the Falcon lineup recorded base hits. The offense got going early as well in this game.

Matthew Ledbetter set the table at the top of the order — he was 3-4 when all was said and done, scoring two runs on top of that inning as well. Ledbetter came around to score on an Ethan Loghry double down the rightfield line.

“When Matthew gets on the bases, he’s a problem. He’s fast, barrels the ball and can run... The guy can fly, he’s just dynamic,” Suguro said.

That was the start of a three-run inning with Stanwood pitchers walking in two more runs in the first inning. It might not have been clear at the time because of the uncertainty with their opponents. But that was all Moore needed on the bump.

After needing just 12 pitches in the top of the second, Moore recorded his first hit and RBI of the game, scoring Ledbetter, who doubled.

“It sets up a lot of plays and gets in the pitchers head because he’s so fast,” Moore said.

Kentlake then added their fifth and final run in the fourth inning. With two outs in the inning, Juan Hernandez singled to left, scoring Moore.

Moore handed the baton over to sophomore Josh Manaois in the seventh inning. Manaois allowed just one base runner in the seventh while striking out the side. Along with Gavin Liechty, Manaois can give some much-needed depth out of the bullpen for the Falcons.

“He’s had a front row seat to watch Liechty do it all season... We trust him in those late game, high leverage spots because he’s got the stuff,” Suguro said.

“Josh throws fuzz. I’m glad to see him shove. He has been one of our most improved players,” Moore said.

Kentlake now is tasked with the number three team in the state, Mount Vernon. The Falcons will face one of the best arms in the 3A state tournament, Xavier Neyens, an Oregon State University commit. But that challenge is one the Falcons are looking forward to.

“I’m super excited. It is definitely a different game than we have played before... We’ve faced good arms. I think it is going to be good competition. I’m ready for it,” Moore said.


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Matthew Ledbetter raises the roof against Stanwood after a double. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Matthew Ledbetter raises the roof against Stanwood after a double. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Ethan Loghry in the box in the state tournament at Kent-Meridian. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Ethan Loghry in the box in the state tournament at Kent-Meridian. Ben Ray / The Reporter

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