If so, then Bailey Seek and the Snohomish Panthers staked their claim in emphatic fashion.
Seek struck out 16 in a two-hit shutout, leading Snohomish to a 2-0 victory over the Meadowdale Mavericks on Thursday afternoon in a meeting between the county's pre-eminent teams.
"This was my kind of game, I love tight games like this," Snohomish coach Lou Kennedy said. "When you get a chance to play good teams, it doesn't matter whether they're conference or noncoference. When two good teams line up and have a 2-0 game, that's a ballgame."
A March snowout caused the nonleague game between Wesco 4A North Snohomish and Wesco 3A South Meadowdale to be rescheduled smack in the heat of league races. And this was no ordinary nonleague game. Both teams came into the game with 13-1 records, the best among all Wesco schools.
Therefore, even though the game was secondary from a standings standpoint, both teams treated it different from the typical nonleague clash.
"Yeah, I really did," Seek admitted when asked if she considered the game a battle for county supremacy. "I think it felt like one of the most important games of the season, knowing they're so good."
Seek responded by being a dominator Thursday. The junior right-hander was making just her second appearance since returning from an injury caused when he took a line drive off her pitching forearm against Glacier Peak on April 8 -- she's still wearing tape on his forearm to alleviate irritation. But there was no sign of rust. She retired the first 11 Meadowdale batters in order, striking out nine, including seven straight. Even in those rare instances when the Mavericks put runners on base, there was always the sense that Seek would terminate the rally herself.
"Bailey's been out for a while, but she works so hard that I knew she was going to be ready," Kennedy said. "She needed innings and she was just dominating today. She has good moving pitches along with decent velocity, so she's tough to catch up to."
Said Seek: "I was living on my rise and my curve. Just coming back from the injury, I'm making sure I over-exaggerate everything so I can make my pitches work."
Meadowdale pitcher Alyssa Reuble was nearly Seek's match. Reuble tossed a three-hitter, striking out seven and allowing just one baserunner over her final five innings. However, the Panthers got to Reuble early, and that proved enough.
"We haven't seen this kind of pitching all season long," Meadowdale coach Dennis Hopkins said. "Snohomish is a fantastic team, they're ranked up there because of this stuff. We shut them down after the first inning and we stepped up to the plate defensively. The offense needs a little work.
"I'm happy with it," Hopkins added. "Coming out of here with them only scoring two in the first inning and holding them for five more innings, that's fantastic. It was a great battle."
Snohomish received all the offense it needed in the bottom of the first inning. Trysten Melhart led off by blooping the ball just over the outstretched arms of Meadowdale shortstop Hailey Costello, legging it into a double. One out later Katlyn Purvis and Anna Pisac grounded back-to-back RBI singles to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
Reuble settled down after that. But there was nothing the Mavericks could do against Seek. Seek was perfect through three innings, striking out eight of the nine batters she faced.
Twice Meadowdale mounted two-out rallies. A pair of walks and a passed ball put runners on second and third in the fourth, and back-to-back singles by Rebecca Wright and Reuble broke up the no-hitter and put a pair of runners on in the sixth. But both times Seek got a called third strike to end the threats.
At Snohomish H.S.
Meadowdale 000 000 0--0 2 0
Snohomish 200 000 0--2 3 0
Alyssa Reuble and Rebecca Wright. Bailey Seek and Morgan Greenlee. WP--Seek. LP--Reuble. 2B--Trysten Melhart (S). Records--Meadowdale 13-2 overall. Snohomish 14-1.
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