SHORELINE — With the district tournament set to start on Saturday, Shorewood’s baseball team wanted to bring a top effort into its final regular-season game against Marysville Pilchuck on Tuesday night.
The Thunderbirds certainly met that goal, combining timely hitting, strong pitching and some stellar defense for a 4-1 victory over the Tomahawks in a showdown of Wesco 3A division leaders at Meridian Park.
“It was a great night,” Shorewood coach Wyatt Tonkin said with a grin. “We played pretty well. And it’s a good game to get us ready to go into districts.”
The T-birds handed Marysville Pilchuck starting pitcher Cody Anderson his first loss in six decisions this season, tagging the tall left-hander for a single run in the second inning and three more in the third. Anderson finished strong, retiring the last 11 batters he faced, but by then the damage was done.
While Anderson went the distance, Tonkin was planning on using four pitchers to save arms for the district tourney. He ended up using three, getting four innings out of starter Sam Boone, two out of Ian Oxnevad and one from Andy Carpenter.
The three hurlers held the Tomahawks to just four hits and struck out five. Marysville Pilchuck’s only run came in the sixth inning and was unearned.
It was, Tonkin said, “outstanding pitching.” Boone, the winning pitcher, “located his fastball on both sides of the plate and he had very good command of his (split-finger pitch), which is pretty tough to hit when he’s getting it over because it comes out of his hand so much like a fastball.”
In the second inning, Shorewood scored first with a leadoff single, a stolen base and an RBI double to the wall in left field by Harrison Jacobs on a 3-2 pitch.
An inning later, the T-birds loaded the bases with no outs on three consecutive singles. Anderson got the first out with a strikeout, but Jacob Bockelie followed with an infield chopper. The throw to the plate was late and errant, and the error allowed a second run to score. Jacobs then followed with his second hit of the game, and his second RBI, by dropping a single into left field for the third run of the inning.
Meanwhile, Shorewood’s middle infielders were doing their part, turning in two terrific defensive plays.
In the fourth, with a runner at first and one out, shortstop Kory Longaker went far to his left to field a sharp ground ball that was headed to center field. He made a quick flip to second baseman Steffen Torgersen at the bag, and the relay throw to first was in time for an inning-ending double play.
“Their shortstop made just a crazy double play,” Marysville Pilchuck coach Kurt Koshelnik said. “That was just a great baseball play.”
One inning later, Torgersen made a headlong dive to his right to snag a sharp line drive from the bat of Anderson.
“We work hard on our defense and it shows,” Tonkin said. “Three-quarters of our practices are defensive oriented … so those guys are used to going and getting baseballs.”
The game was Shorewood’s regular-season finale, and the team now turns its focus to the district tournament. A year ago, the T-birds ended up short of the state tournament after two heartbreaking district defeats, and the team’s mindset this season “is that we’re not going to let that happen to us again,” Tonkin said. “We’re going to fight through this and get to state.
“That’s their goal. They don’t talk about it, and they don’t yell and scream. They’re kind of quiet about it … but they’re confident. Confident, but not cocky.”
Marysville Pilchuck plays its final regular-season game today against Glacier Peak. The Tomahawks can still wrap up the top spot in the Wesco North with a victory, or a Stanwood loss to Meadowdale.
Regardless of today’s outcomes, Marysville Pilchuck will be in the district tournament on Saturday with Anderson the expected starter. “And knowing him like I know him,” Koshelnik said, “he’s going to get the ball and he’s going to be as dominating as he’s been all year.”
At Meridian Park, Shoreline
Marysville Pilchuck 000 001 0—1 4 1
Shorewood 013 000 x—4 7 2
Cody Anderson and J.J. Valencia; Sam Boone, Ian Oxnevad (5), Andy Carpenter (7) and Jacob Bockelie. WP—Boone, LP—Anderson. 2B—Jared Wade (MP), Harrison Jacobs (S). Records—Marysville Pilchuck is 13-3 in league, 15-4 overall. Shorewood is 15-2, 18-2.