By David Pan and David Krueger Weekly Herald writers
It’s safe to say that Meadowdale took the scenic route to this week’s Class 3A state softball tournament.
After losing 7-6 in a first-round District 1 tournament game to Sedro-Woolley, the Mavericks fought their way through the consolation bracket and ended up winning a rematch with the Cubs 7-3 in a winner-to-state/loser-out game May 19 at Janicki Fields in Sedro-Woolley.
Along the way, Meadowdale had to defeat district rivals Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace and Wesco 3A rival Glacier Peak. They also had to travel up and down Interstate 5 to Meridian Park Fields in Shoreline and back up to Janicki Fields.
“It is the most unbelievable feeling to know that we’ve got to this point of our season,” said Meadowdale pitcher Alyssa Reuble, who pitched every inning of the tournament.
The Mavericks are scheduled to play Peninsula at noon, May 25 at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.
Not bad for a team that finished in a three-way tie for second place with Lynnwood and Glacier Peak in the Wesco 3A.
“Nobody thought we could make it and we proved everyone wrong,” catcher Shannon Haukap said. “We started from day one having our dream to go to state.”
Sedro-Woolley scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally for the win in the first-round contest. The loss provided plenty of motivation for the Mavericks.
Reuble and her teammates were hoping for another chance to play the Cubs.
“That’s what we wanted the entire time,” Reuble said. “That’s all we ever talked about. We want Sedro again. We want Sedro again.”
Meadowdale watched as the Cubs lost to Everett in a wild 14-13 game. Taking into account what they saw in the district title game and in the first round contest, Reuble went more to her drop ball and kept the ball low against Sedro-Woolley.
“We had a little more insight into what they could do and what pitches they liked,” Haukap said. “So we threw away to some of their big hitters and pretty much stayed low with it.”
Added Reuble, “We watched the Everett game. … They go crazy over the high stuff, so we kept it low and away.”
Led by back-to-back RBI doubles in the top of the first inning by Hailey Costello and Ashley Brooke, Meadowdale built an early lead and this time held on to it.
The win was finalized – and punctuated – by freshman Rebecca Wright, who made a diving catch in left field on the last play of the game.
“I was thinking, ‘I had to do something,’” Wright said. “I didn’t know (if I caught the ball). I was just hoping I was going to get it.”
Earlier in the day, Meadowdale defeated Mountlake Terrace 4-3. The Mavericks had a 3-0 lead through three innings before the Hawks scored a run in the fourth and two in the sixth to tie the score.
Meadowdale had loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh with one out when Costello belted a single to left field to score the winning run.
Following their May 15 first-round loss to Sedro-Woolley, Meadowdale defeated Lynnwood 8-2. The Mavericks then beat Glacier Peak 7-1 in a loser-out game on May 17 at Meridian Fields in Shoreline.
“We just knew what we had to do,” Meadowdale coach Dennis Hopkins said. “We were handed lemons, so we made lemonade. It just got sweeter each game.”
The last time Meadowdale advanced to the state tournament was in 1997.
“Now for us I think it’s play our hardest and do our best and see where we end up at state playing some really quality opponents,” Reuble said.