Down by two runs, the Tomahawks loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh inning before Shorewood brought in pitcher Ian Oxnevad, who got the final two outs to preserve the Thunderbirds 3-1 victory in the 3A District 1 third-place game at Meridian Park Ball Field.
The victory clinches the district's third and final state berth for Shorewood.
“I've got so many gray hairs now that it doesn't matter, but I was a little nervous there,” said Shorewood head coach Wyatt Tonkin. “But it came out OK.”
Marysville Pilchuck drew three-consecutive walks to load the bases in the seventh inning off Shorewood reliever Ben Tracey. Oxnevad came in and got a strikeout — after an eight-pitch at bat — and groundout to second base to end the game.
“We got into a good spot,” said Marysville Pilchuck head coach Kurt Koshelnik. “… We just didn't capitalize. We had kids that we wanted up. We got the best scenario we could have asked for. It just didn't work out.”
Shorewood got to Tomahawks starter Cody Anderson with three runs in the first inning, punctuated by an RBI infield single by Max Wagner. Wagner batted 2-for-3 with an RBI and Kory Longaker (1-for-3) added a double and a run scored to lead the Thunderbirds who — along with district champ Glacier Peak and runner-up Mountlake Terrace — made sure all three of the district's state berths go to Wesco 3A South teams.
“All year long, when we get our guys leads, we're in good shape,” Tonkin said. “When our pitchers get a couple of runs they're just like sharks in the water. They're pounding that zone and we're in good shape. It's critical to jump out.”
Said Koshelnik: “They hit him. The leadoff (batter) hit it pretty hard and it just kind of set a tone for that inning. To Cody's credit, that was it. That's all they got. That's baseball. You eliminate one inning and everything's different.”
The game featured the No. 1 seeds from the Wesco 3A North and South divisions. It was the fourth consecutive victory for the Thunderbirds over Marysville Pilchuck. Shorewood (21-3 overall) also ended the Tomahawks' season last year with a 4-2 victory in the district tournament.
“If anything, our kids were chomping at the bit because of that very reason,” Koshelnik said. “We were in a good position at the end. They're a good team. I think they'll probably go do something pretty good here in the next couple weeks at state.”
Tonkin said the Tomahawks always provide a tough challenge for Shorewood.
“I tip my hat to Marysville Pilchuck. Both games they played us tough,” Tonkin said. “Cody threw a great game for them. They scare us. That Cody Anderson is a tough pitcher. And they're free swingers. They're a dangerous team. We were just fortunate to get by, to score a couple in the first inning, and make it hold up.”
Senior Andrew Alvis went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk to lead Marysville Pilchuck (17-7), which had a runner reach base every inning.
Alvis is one of eight seniors for the Tomahawks — including Anderson — that played in their final high school game.
“It was a fun group. They worked hard, but they had fun,” Koshelnik said. “Sometimes you get caught up in winning and losing and you've got to remember it's the high school experience. I hope they left here having enjoyed themselves and grown a little bit, not just as baseball guys, but as guys.”
At Meridian Park
M. Pilchuck 000 010 0 — 1 5 3
Shorewood 300 000 x — 3 4 2
Sam Boone, Ben Tracey (6), Ian Oxnevad (7). Cody Anderson and Ben Northrop. WP—Boone (8-1). LP—Anderson (6-2). S—Oxnevad. 2B—Anderson (MP), Kory Longaker (S). Records—Marysville Pilchuck 17-7 overall. Shorewood 21-3.
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