'Tough' tournament awaits hot Meadowdale baseball team
Streaking Mavericks have strong competition in the District 1 3A tournament, including Mount Vernon and Mountlake Terrace.
Chris Goodenow / The Weekly Herald
Meadowdale baserunners Chris Osborne (6) and Matt Hirsch (13) race toward home plate off of an RBI triple to score two runs against Everett during the top of the fifth inning of their baseball game, Friday, April 20, 2012 at Everett Memorial Stadium. The runs put Meadowdale ahead of Everett 6-2.
The Mavericks ended the regular season by winning 11 in a row and 13 of their last 14 games to bring home the school's first Wesco championship since 1991.
The ending though was a far cry from how it started for the Mavericks. After three games, Meadowdale was winless and head coach Bill Hummel said the team had a combined batting average hovering around .125.
But the Mavericks stayed the course, more than turning things around.
"We are proud of what our kids have done, but we are ready to get onto the next thing," Hummel said.
The next big thing happens to be the District 1 tournament, where Meadowdale is one of the favorites. The Mavericks open up the tournament today, facing Oak Harbor.
"Obviously we've got to feel pretty good about where we're at," Hummel said. "I think we are going into the tournament the way we want to -- playing well."
The Mavs and others will have to play well. The Wesco 3A coaches agree that this tournament is tough.
"It's very tough," said Mountlake Terrace coach Andrew Watters. "I think we play in the toughest district tournament in the state. The top two teams that come out of it are going to be the two teams playing the best baseball here at the end."
Mountlake Terrace, which began the season as one of the favorites in the Wesco 3A, plays Ferndale in today's opening district round.
Mountlake Terrace and Meadowdale are just a couple of teams that have a chance to win the tournament.
"This is a very hard tournament to get through," Hummel said. "I really think there are six teams that can win this tournament."
At the top of that list might be undefeated Mount Vernon.
"Ive talked to several coaches that have seen them and they all agree that they are a top-tier team," Hummel said.
Checking in with North, South champs
The Lake Stevens Vikings' baseball season did not end the way they had envisioned a year ago and the 2012 version of the team has its collective mind set on changing that this year.
The Vikings open up the district tournament today, facing Kamiak.
"We are confident and excited," Lake Stevens head coach Rodger Anderson said. "We feel like we have something to prove after last season."
The Vikings seemed poised to make a run at the state tournament in 2011, but instead went 1-2 in districts and their season came to an end.
"We didn't play nearly up to our potential last year in the playoffs," Anderson said.
Making it to state is something that Anderson said is important to his team, especially his seniors, led by Dylan Lavelle, Anthony Blackie, Jake Nelson and Christian Gasca.
"This group of seniors is really, really close and really tight," Anderson said. "This is something they have been waiting for for a long time."
It showed in the regular season, the Vikings finished with a 19-1 record, their only blemish coming at the hands of Stanwood.
"I think we have played up to our potential up until this point," Anderson said. "Now we just need to step it up and continue on through the playoffs."
The same could be said for 15-5 Edmonds-Woodway, which was three games clear of every other team in the Wesco South in earning a league championship.
The Warriors open up the district tournament today against Arlington.
"We're feeling really good," Edmonds-Woodway coach Dan Somoza said. "I'm confident that we are going to play hard and do things right and if we do that good things will happen."
Edmonds-Woodway started off the season hot and was able to fend off Jackson, Kamiak and Cascade, who all finished tied for second with a 9-7 league record.
"We got off to a good start and we've had really good starting (pitching) from Patrick Bernard and Ryan Budnick," Somoza said.
Lakewood gets shot at defending champs
The Lakewood Baseball team begins the District 1 tournament today by facing the No. 2 seed from the Northwest League: Burlington-Edison.
The Tigers are also the defending state champions.
The Cougars aren't intimidated though. They faced the Tigers earlier in the season in a pitching battle that came down to the final inning. Burlington-Edison won the game 1-0 on a walk-off home run, but the Cougars competed for all seven innings.
"It was a good ball game on both sides," Lakewood coach Larry Delaney said. "We felt looking back afterwards that we definitely had opportunities."
If the Cougars can take advantage of those opportunities this time around, Delaney said they have a shot.
"We like our chances," he said. "They have got a good ball club. They are well-coached, so we are going to have to do things right, but if we do that, its going to be a good ball game."
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