Glacier Peak softball shocks Meadowdale in semis

EVERETT — Glacier Peak softball coach Caitlin Nies had never beaten Meadowdale in her two years as the Grizzlies’ head coach.

Until Tuesday.

Glacier Peak got two-run home runs from Aurora Ellison and Abby Doney as the Grizzlies beat Meadowdale 5-1 for the first time in six tries in a semifinal game of the 3A District 1 tournament at Phil Johnson Field.

The victory clinched a spot in the district title game and a state berth for Glacier Peak for the first time in the softball program’s history.

“Meadowdale’s an awesome team,” Nies said. “I challenged the girls to come out and just keep scoring and they answered the call. It was just a great team win — a team effort — and that we finally sealed the deal at the end for state was awesome.”

It was Glacier Peak’s first victory over the Mavericks since a 5-4 win on March 20, 2012. Meadowdale swept the teams’ three meetings last season — including a 5-3 victory in a district semifinal — and won both league contests with the Grizzlies this year.

Meadowdale (17-3 overall) had lost just two games all season coming into the district tournament.

“Their hitters are competitors,” Nies said. “They go up there and they don’t give up. You know it’s never going to be easy.”

Glacier Peak (14-8) got on the board in the top of the first inning with an RBI single by Jocelyn Matheny. Matheny scored later in the inning on a wild pitch to give the Grizzlies an early 2-0 advantage.

Meadowdale answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning but Glacier Peak maintained the lead, and added to it in the third when Ellison crushed a ball to right-center field to bring two more runs in for the Grizzlies.

“Ellison’s two-run home run was huge,” Nies said. “I think it got out (of the ballpark) before I even realized it. It was a line drive that just kept going.”

Meadowdale closed the gap in the bottom of the sixth inning with a two-run home run by freshman Emma Helm, her sixth of the season.

But the Grizzlies responded with Doney’s two-run shot in the seventh to pad their lead over the Mavericks, who finished third at last year’s state tournament.

“We haven’t had a ton of home runs this year,” Nies said. “So to come out and go ahead with one, and then answer their home run with one, was huge for us.”

Doney went 2-for-4 with the home run and a double to lead Glacier Peak. Rebecca Willis (2-for-3) added a double and Grizzlies’ pitcher Callie Bircher batted 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Bircher pitched both games for Glacier Peak, which got to the semifinal game after a 6-3 victory over Everett in the first round.

“Callie was outstanding,” Nies said. “She was hitting spots — going inside, outside, up, down — just doing everything she could to keep them off balance. It was an awesome effort and her second game of the day. She’s just a superstar.”

The loss ended Meadowdale’s quest to repeat as district champions. The Mavericks will have to navigate the consolation bracket as they look to make it back to the state tournament.

“The target on our back is big,” said Meadowdale head coach Dennis Hopkins. “Everybody wanted to beat us. They came prepared to play. We came prepared, but they were a little bit more prepared.”

The Mavericks start with a game against Stanwood at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The winner of that game will face the winner of the Mountlake Terrace-Everett contest in the third-place game. The winner of that game goes to state, while the loser’s season is over.

“Now we’ve just got to play two on Thursday,” Hopkins said. “Three years ago we came the back way in. We had lost one on Tuesday, came back and won two on Thursday. We made it happen. We’ll make it happen this time.”

Helm went 2-for-3 with the homer and two RBI and Hailey Costello (2-for-3) had a double and a run scored to lead Meadowdale, which was held to its lowest run total of the season.

The Mavericks also scored three runs against Glacier Peak on May 12, when they defeated the Grizzlies 3-2.

“It just seems to be some days things just don’t quite go your way,” Hopkins said. “… It’s a bad time to go cold on your bats.”

The Meadowdale coach said the team keeps notebooks of game observations, and that he expects those will be helpful at today’s practice.

Said Hopkins: “We’ll sit down, we’ll just assess what we did wrong, readjust and go back at it.”

Glacier Peak, meanwhile, is now looking to the school’s baseball team for inspiration. The Grizzlies recently won the first baseball district title in the school’s history and the softball team – in the title game for the first time ever — is hoping to follow in their footsteps.

“We’ve got to answer,” Nies said. “We’re going to come out here and we’re going to go for the championship and see if we can get the first one for our school.”

Glacier Peak 5, Everett 3

At Phil Johnson Fields

Glacier Peak 010 103 0 — 5 10 1

Everett 000 001 2 — 3 6 2

Callie Bircher and Coral Hjert. Erin Gordon and Bailey Formon-Haynes. WP—Bircher (14-8). LP—Gordon (3-7). 2B—Kelsey Schram (E), Lauren Nicksic (GP). 3B—Rebecca Willis (GP).

Meadowdale 12, M. Getchell 2 (5)

At Phil Johnson Fields

M. Getchell 020 00x x – 2 4 3

Meadowdale 223 32x x – 12 12 1

Savannah Duce and Ashlyn Sievers. Julia Reuble and Emma Helm. WP–Reuble (8-1). LP–Duce (2-3). 2B–Haili Taylor (M) 2, Samantha Gregoryk (M), Madison Buchea (M), Hailey Costello (M), Reuble (M), Kaitlyn Webster (M). 3B–Sievers (MG), Costello (M), Helm (M). Records–Marysville Getchell 8-13 overall. Meadowdale 17-2.

Everett 12, M. Getchell 11

At Phil Johnson Fields

M. Getchell 420 130 1 — 11 19 2

Everett 302 300 4 — 12 14 2

Kymberlie Devlin and Ashlyn Sievers. Sydney Taggart, Erin Gordon (3) and Bailey Formon. WP–Gordon (4-7). LP—Devlin (4-8). 2B—Taggart (E), Gordon (E), Della Willem (MG), Devlin (MG), Sievers (MG), Elizabeth Rice (MG). 3B—Taggart (E), Alexis Dittoe (E). Records—Marysville Getchell 8-14 overall. Everett 10-12.

Glacier Peak 7, Meadowdale 3

At Phil Johnson Fields

Glacier Peak 202 100 2 — 7 10 1

Meadowdale 100 002 0 — 3 7 1

Callie Bircher and Coral Hjert. Samantha Gregoryk, Julia Reuble (1), Gregoryk (3) and Emma Helm. WP–Bircher (14-8). LP–Gregoryk. 2B–Abby Doney (GP), Rebecca Willis (GP), Hailey Costello (M). HR–Aurora Ellison (GP), Doney (GP), Helm (M). Records–Glacier Peak 14-8 overall. Meadowdale 17-3.

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