Until Mountlake Terrace center fielder Jason Shevenko ruined the Tomahawks' plans.
Shevenko, who hit an RBI double in the first inning to score the game's only run, caught a fly ball in mid-center field and threw out a Marysville Pilchuck runner trying to score on the play. The double play ended the game and preserved Mountlake Terrace's 1-0 victory in the winner-to-state 3A District 1 playoff game Tuesday afternoon at Meridian Park Ball Field.
The players piled on top of each other to celebrate as the Hawks clinched a spot in Saturday's district championship game where Mountlake Terrace plays Glacier Peak, 1-0 winners over Shorewood Tuesday night, at 2 p.m.
“That's baseball. I'm just proud of the kids,” Mountlake Terrace head coach Andrew Watters said. “What a great play by Jason Shevenko there to end the game. You don't get to see that very often. What a great job by (Hawks' pitcher) Dan Theis. And Jason Shevenko getting the clutch hit in the first inning. That's it. That's the story.”
The Tomahawks had runners on first and second base with one out in the top of the seventh inning. A wild pitch moved them to second and third before Cody Anderson hit a fly ball to center field.
Marysville Pilchuck head coach Kurt Koshelnik was all but certain Anderson's fly ball would tie the score.
“We got exactly what we wanted: a guy to third base with less than two outs and a long fly ball,” Koshelnik said. “Their kid made an unbelievable play. You can't take anything away from him. We talked to our kids and they were sad and mad and all those things but we're all like, ‘That was a sweet play.'
“It just rips your heart out because we have that game tied. We think we have that game tied. I think we have that game tied when I'm sending him and that was just a dart.”
Koshelnik said as soon as he saw the hit he was positive the Tomahawks would be able to score on the play. There was no question he was going to send the runner from third on the play.
“I'm standing there asking my coaches, ‘He was out by five steps. Did I miscalculate something?' But no, that kid just made an incredible play,” Koshelnik said. “That was our opportunity to score. It took seven innings to get that opportunity. He wasn't not going.”
Watters praised his junior outfielder, who he said deserved the praise after working hard all season.
“He was ready for it. He's a great player,” Watters said. “Jason can play any position on the field. He's just a flat-out great player. I'm proud for him for having this moment here today. He's a really tough competitor. For him to get the (RBI) hit and then throw the guy out, that's just awesome for him.”
Shevenko made his mark on offense for Mountlake Terrace with the Hawks' first hit of the game. After leadoff batter Jaden Yackley was hit by a pitch and sacrificed to second with a bunt, Shevenko lined an RBI double to left field to bring Yackley in.
The hit turned out to be the game-winner as Mountlake Terrace's Theis and Marysville Pilchuck's Alex Gray quickly found themselves in a pitchers' duel.
“They threw a real good kid,” Koshelnik said. “We had kind of a shaky first inning. We hit the first batter, they bunt him over, (get a) double and there's your game. Their kid threw well and our kid threw well. It was a good high school baseball game.”
The Tomahawks threatened in the seventh inning, with two runners on base — causing Watters to go calm down his pitcher. Mountlake Terrace had ace Dominic DeMiero available, but Watters wanted Theis to finish what he had started.
“We had Dominic ready but I wasn't going to pull (Theis),” Watters said. “It was his game all the way. That was Dan's game. He's a senior and he's done this all year for us. He earned that moment. I'm just proud of Dan. It was just a great day for our team.”
Theis scattered four hits in the contest, with the only real pressure coming in the top of the seventh.
“Dan was awesome. That's the best game of his career,” Watters said. “He had all of his pitches today. He kept them off balance. Credit to them for getting themselves in that situation. They earned it, they got their hits. But Dan made the pitch to get out of it and we made the defensive play.”
Watters and the Hawks are eager to go after their fourth district championship in the last eight years. He's encouraged his team to go look at some of the hardware in the Mountlake Terrace trophy case this week for motivation.
“We're going to totally go after it,” Watters said. “It's a district championship. I just got done telling the kids we've won three of those in the last seven years. This is our chance to win four. I told them to walk by the gym and check out the plaques and get ready to get another one.”
Trey Southard batted 2-for-3 and started the top of the seventh inning off with a single for the Tomahawks, who have a quick turnaround hosting a loser-out game today at 4 p.m. Koshelnik said Marysville Pilchuck has a more difficult road to qualifying for the state tournament but the Tomahawks are eager to be able to keep playing baseball.
“The message is that we're not taking the easy path anymore — the easy path was to win today — so now we've got to take a little bit different path,” Koshelnik said. “It's bonus baseball. We're getting to play extra games now and every game is meaningful.”
At Meridian Park Fields
Mountlake Terrace 100 000 0 — 1 5 0
Marysville Pilchuck 000 000 0 — 0 4 1
Daniel Theis and Wyatt Allemann. Alex Gray and Ben Northrop. WP–Theis. LP–Gray. 2B–Jason Shevenko (MT). Records–Mountlake Terrace 13-9 overall. Marysville Pilchuck 16-7.
Daniel Theis, Sr.
Chase Perez, Sr.
Zack Wallgren, Sr.
Wyatt Alleman, Sr.
Elliot Nebel, Sr.
Dominic DeMiero, Sr.
Jason Shevenko, Jr.
Ben Reijonen, Jr.
Keegan Otter, Jr.
Austin McDermott, Jr.
Jesse Prothero, Jr.
Michael Hunt, Jr.
Zayn Phillips, Jr.
Jaden Yackley, Jr.
Raiden Silva, Jr.
Nolan Takeya, Jr.
Drew Serres, So.
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