By Jon Saperstein Herald Writer
BELLEVUE — The wild ride that was the final month of the Meadowdale baseball team’s season came to a sudden halt Saturday afternoon in the 3A state quarterfinals at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue.
After getting a complete-game winning performance from Elliott Reece in a 3-1 win over Peninsula during the morning’s opening round game, the Mavericks’ pitching surrendered to Mt. Si in a 7-2 loss.
Many teams would hang their heads, being so close to the state semifinals held at Pasco’s GESA Stadium next week, but not Meadowdale.
These Mavericks enjoyed the ride.
“We have a bright future in front of us,” coach Bill Hummel said. “We have a really young team … This was beyond our expectations to be in the final eight of the state tournament. As coaches and players, we would all agree that no one would have anticipated we would go this far.”
Senior catcher Brian Marty was proud of what his team accomplished, however the idea of being the last team standing in the tournament was clearly not something anyone planned.
“A month ago I would have laughed at that,” Marty said. “From where we were a month ago to where we are now, it’s night and day. We’ve come a long way.”
For the first half of the game, it looked like the Mavericks would continue to find a way.
Mt. Si pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the third on a couple of sacrifice flies after starter Moises Valdez gave up a double and a bunt single to open the inning. Meadowdale used one of Phillip Thomas’ two singles on the day and a pair of sacrifice bunts to push across a run in the bottom half of the inning to make it 2-1.
After Marty reached on an error in the top of the fourth, Hummel inserted a pinch runner — Justin Ridley — for his catcher. The move quickly paid off when Ryan White grounded into a fielder’s choice. After a Parker Coffey singled, the Wildcats went for the 6-4-3 double play to get White, but Ridley scooted from second to home and beat the throw to the plate to tie the score 2-2.
“I felt pretty confident at that point,” Hummel said. “But suddenly it was ball four, ball four and both those runs came around to score (for Mt. Si).”
Those two walks were given up by Valdez to open the fifth to Wildcats’ No. 1 and 2 hitters, Joey Cotto and Carson Breshears. Valdez pitched well to all the Wildcats save those two. The duo batted 3-for-4 with a pair of walks and four runs scored in six plate appearances against the Mavericks pitcher. Valdez gave up three hits and one walk to the rest of the team.
After the walks Hummell went to the bullpen but the Wildcats teed off to score five runs on the inning against three Mav pitchers.
“If you look at this one game,” Hummel said. “Mt. Si just pitched it better than we did today. They were better on the mound.
“I told (the team) this is how you get through the state tournament. You have to have two good, good starters and they (Mt. Si) did.”
Mt. Si coach Zach Habben thought the big inning was the difference for his team.
“We strung a lot of good at bats together and hit line drives as opposed to popping them up … having a couple balls fall is huge,” Habben said. “Hitting is contagious.”
At the end of the day, the Mavericks were the last team standing from the district that at one point featured undefeated and No. 1 ranked Shorewood. However, the Thunderbirds didn’t make it out of the district tournament. Ferndale and Glacier Peak did advance to state, but both of those teams fell in the first round Saturday.
“For a four seed in districts to make it this far and keep beating teams that everyone thought was better than us and keep playing well, we have nothing to be ashamed of,” Marty said.
In the warm spring sun Hummell beamed at the fact that his was the last playing from Wesco despite the season coming to an end.
“That’s something we are very, very proud of,” he said. “We played good baseball in this league. It’s a difficult district to get out of. To be the last team standing, that’s kind of a neat thing for these kids. A great accomplishment.”
Moises Valdez, Matt Hill(5), Reid Naughtin (5), Chace Diemond (6) Collin Costello (7) and Brian Marty. Connor Swift and Zach Usselman. WP—Swift. LP—.Valdez 2B—Cotto (MS), Jensen (MS) White (M). Records—Mt. Si 18-5 . Meadowdale 12-13.
Meadowdale wins in first round
Meadowdale pitcher Elliott Reece went the distance, scattering five hits and an unearned run to record the victory in the first round Saturday morning. Three straight doubles in the third by Parker Coffey, Collin Costello and Ryan white produced the only runs the Mavs would need in the fourth inning. Scott Russell, whose earned run average was below 1.00 prior to the game, took the loss for Peninsula.
At Bannerwood Park
Elliott Reece and Brian Marty. Scott Russell, Jimmy Ritchie (5), Alex Wegmiller (5) and Kailer Smith. WP—Reece. LP—.Russell 2B—Brandon Wegmiller (P), Coffey (M), White (M), Costello (M). Records—Peninsula 15-8 . Meadowdale 12-12.