They got that first win, and didn't feel like stopping.
Meadowdale defeated Shorewood 6-5 Monday afternoon, to rack up its ninth straight win -- and 13th in the Mavericks' last 14 games -- to clinch its first outright Wesco 3A conference championship since 1991.
"It was a goal that we really set for ourselves about halfway through the season," said Meadowdale head coach Bill Hummel. "We really felt that the league championship was there for the taking. We set a concrete goal and said, 'let's go get that done.'"
That goal was accomplished at Meadowdale High School on Monday, when Tyler Ackerman broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring the eventual game-winning run after a bunt single by Brian Marty. Ackerman, who led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error, scored when the Shorewood pitcher threw the ball over the first baseman's head trying to get Marty out.
Ackerman easily scored, and Chris Osborne pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his fifth save of the year.
Ackerman batted 2-for-3 with two RBI and the run scored and Matt Hirsch (1-for-3) added a big two-run hit for the Mavericks (13-2 league, 13-5 overall). It was enough run support for Bill Sullivan (4-2) who got the win after a rough first inning.
"I thought Sullivan really pitched a tough, tough game," Hummell said. "He got into some trouble in the first inning, gave up a couple runs, and then really settled down."
Duncan Hendrickson and Ben Andrews each had RBI-doubles to lead the Thunderbirds (8-7, 9-10).
"They are a very, very good team," Hummel said.
The Mavericks have one more game before the district tournament -- a rematch today against Shorewood at Meridian Park -- and Hummel thinks that it will be another close game like Monday's, which are exactly what he says his team needs this time of year.
"The way the high school baseball season is constructed it's absolutely critical that you're playing good baseball at the end of the year," Hummel said. "(Districts is a) monster of a tournament. It's going to be very difficult to advance out of.
"One thing we told the kids today is this kind of game, this type of competition is exactly what you're going to see in the district tournament."
At Meadowdale H.S.
Shorewood 200 300 0--5 5 3
Meadowdale 300 021 x--6 6 2
Sam Boone, Ian Oxnard (5), Riley O'Brien (6) and Christian Heideger. Bill Sullivan, Chris Osborne (7) and Brian Marty. WP--Sullivan (4-2). LP--Oxnard. S-Osborne (5). 2B--Duncan Hendrickson (S), Ben Andrews (S). Records--Shorewood 8-7 league, 9-10 overall. Meadowdale 13-2, 13-5.
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