By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
The ending certainly wasn’t what Mountlake Terrace was hoping for in its 3A first-round state baseball playoff game against Columbia River.
The Hawks took a 4-2 lead into the seventh inning and were three outs away from advancing to the quarterfinals. Instead, Columbia River rallied for three runs and then shut down the Hawks in the bottom half of the inning to win 5-4, May 19 at Dream Field in Mount Vernon.
Mountlake Terrace coach Andrew Watters saw his team battle until the final out.
“I’m really proud of the way we played Saturday,” he said. “It just didn’t go our way at the end. The kids were prepared and played hard and left it out on the field. We just didn’t get the breaks in the end. That’s the way it goes in baseball.”
Mountlake Terrace, which finished its season 14-9, had mounted a rally of its own, taking a 4-2 lead with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. JR Gaddy delivered a clutch two-run single to give the Hawks the lead and Chris Hall followed with an RBI single.
But two walks and three consecutive hits in the top of the seventh put the Chieftains back in the lead. Trailing 4-3, Columbia River (15-10) was down to its last strike when Otto Goldberg sliced a run-scoring triple down the right-field line to tie the game. Clark Bryant then singled Goldberg home with the eventual winning run.
Mountlake Terrace’s Josh Fitch led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and advanced to third with two out, but was stranded there.
Hall led the Hawks’ offense with three singles and an RBI. Fitch had two hits and an RBI.
“We had a great season,” Watters said.
Mountlake Terrace captured its third district championship in the last five years (2008, 2010 and 2012).
“We’re having good fortune on the even years,” Watters joked.
The Hawks are graduating an extremely talented senior class that includes pitcher Alex Hatch (who signed with Bellevue Community College), Fitch, Hall and Austin Johnson (Tacoma Community College).
“We’re going to have a young team next year,” Watters said. “We’re losing a great group of seniors. … We’ve got some young players who have talent in the program. We’re going to move forward and we’re still going to be strong at Mountlake Terrace.”