By David Krueger Herald Writer
EVERETT — It took a while, but the Meadowdale softball team did what it usually does.
Come from behind to beat Glacier Peak.
But this time it was in the playoffs. In the teams’ third battle of the season, it once again came down to late-game heroics. The Mavericks scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to help Meadowdale defeat Glacier Peak 5-3 in a 3A district semifinal game Thursday night at Phil Johnson Field.
The win clinched a state berth for Meadowdale, which will face Mountlake Terrace in the 3A District 1 championship on Thursday.
“It’s kind of what we’ve been doing all year,” Mavericks’ head coach Dennis Hopkins said. “Last time we played Glacier Peak we were down by two in the seventh and we got it. It seems like every time we play it goes down to the end. Glacier Peak’s a great team. It’s always really hard to beat a team a third time.”
In the teams’ second meeting, it took nine innings before Meadowdale scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to secure the win. This time around the Mavericks got on the board a little earlier.
Glacier Peak, coming off a 5-4 first-round win over Ferndale that took 10 innings, got things going early, with one run in the second and two in the third.
Then Meadowdale pitcher Alyssa Reuble settled down. She allowed one hit from the fourth inning on and finished the game with 13 strikeouts.
The senior also stepped up at the plate, hitting a leadoff double in the fourth and scoring a run later in the inning on a sacrifice fly. Then Reuble jumpstarted the Mavericks’ offense with a solo home run to lead off Meadowdale’s four-run sixth inning.
“I turned around and said, ‘I did my job, you do your job,’” Reuble said. “And that’s what happened. … It was such a team effort. It was nice to see our bats come alive, even if it was late. We sometimes wait to the last second. We’re like the comeback kids.”
“We count on her,” Hopkins said of Reuble. “We count on everybody, but she’s kind of the go-to kid who sparks the team and gets them going.”
Reuble’s homer preceded three straight singles for Meadowdale, which took the lead for good on an RBI single by Ciarra Hart. Samantha Gregoryk added a sacrifice fly for the Mavericks.
Callie Bircher pitched the whole game for Glacier Peak, and looked a bit tired by the end of her second game. Bircher pitched 17 innings on Tuesday for the Grizzlies — who along with fellow Wesco 3A teams Shorecrest and Mountlake Terrace — gave the league a complete sweep in the first round of the district tournament.
“I was happy we came out aggressive and were able to score some runs,” Glacier Peak head coach Caitlin Nies said. “Meadowdale has a great hitting lineup and the third time around they’re tough. Callie had pitched that whole 10-inning game and lost some steam at the end. I was proud of how we battled and fought.”
The win put Meadowdale into the district championship game, where the Mavericks hope to be district champs for the first time since anyone can remember.
“They want to win districts,” Hopkins said. “Meadowdale hasn’t won there in years. I don’t even know when the last time was. It was like the ’80s. Hopefully the chips fall our way or the softball gods are good to us.”
Regardless of the outcome against Mountlake Terrace in the district final, the Mavericks will be headed back to the 3A state tournament where they went 1-2 last season. Reuble thinks going into state with a win is a huge momentum boost.
“Winning districts is so important because it’s just such great momentum going to state,” Reuble said. “It’s been one of the goals of our program.”
At Phil Johnson Field
Glacier Peak 012 000 0—3 4 1
Meadowdale 000 104 x—5 8 1
Callie Bircher and Nina Kim. Alyssa Reuble and Rebecca Wright. WP—Reuble. LP—Bircher. 2B—Aurora Ellison (GP), Alexis Michael (GP), Tiffany DeWayne (M), Reuble (M). HR—Reuble (M). Records—Glacier Peak 13-9 overall. Meadowdale 19-2.