By David Krueger For The Weekly Herald
The 3A District 1 playoff baseball game between the Meadowdale Mavericks and Mountlake Terrace Hawks was, in every way, anybody’s game.
Even the coaches weren’t sure who would finish on top.
The game featured four lead changes and two ties as both teams fought back and forth for a spot in the May 12 district championship. In the end, Mountlake Terrace took the final lead and held on to it, defeating the Mavericks 8-5 May 8 at Meadowdale High School.
“Intense game,” said Andrew Watters, the Hawks’ head coach. “Two good teams. Two very good teams. It was a nailbiter the whole way. I’m really proud of my guys.”
The Hawks move on to face Mount Vernon in the district championship game at 2 p.m. on May 12 at Everett Memorial Stadium for a state berth.
“We got the job done. Where we’re at right now, we have a good chance,” Watters said. “Hopefully we got one good game to go in us on Saturday in the district championship.”
After battling back and forth, Terrace took control in the sixth inning, with a five-run rally. The Hawks went from trailing by two runs to leading by three thanks to some timely hitting, and three straight walks – two of which came with the bases loaded.
Jalen Pahinui led the inning off with a double and scored the first run on an RBI-single by Chris Hall. Hall and catcher Austin Johnson both strolled home on bases-loaded walks. Terrace starting pitcher Dominic DeMiero helped himself out with an RBI-single – his second of the game – and Quintin Barnard added a sacrifice fly to finish the rally.
The inning gave the Hawks their second lead of the day, and first since the opening inning.
Trailing 8-5, Meadowdale coach Bill Hummell wasn’t ready to throw in the towel.
“You’re just trying to get the next out,” said Hummell. “You realize this game is going to go to the last out. I kind of envisioned us winning in the bottom of the seventh.”
After the teams exchanged runs in the first, Meadowdale took a two-run lead in the bottom of the fourth thanks to back-to-back RBI singles by Tyler Ackerman and Riley Bykonen. Terrace immediately responded, tying the score in the top of the fifth with two runs of their own, thanks to a base-loaded walk by Josh Fitch and an RBI single by DeMiero.
Meadowdale recaptured the lead in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run rally, before Mountlake Terrace took it back in the top of the sixth.
“No lead is safe when you’re playing a team like Meadowdale,” he said. “We’re not going to take anything for granted. They’re a tough team.”
Freshman Jason Shevenko quieted the Mavericks’ bats after coming into the game trailing 4-3, with a runner on base in the fifth inning. After giving up a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-3, Shevenko struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
He didn’t give up a hit in two innings of work and earned his first varsity playoff victory.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Shevenko said of getting the win.
Shevenko said adrenaline played a major role in his pitching performance, along with strong run support by his teammates. He sat in the dugout looking on during the five-run sixth inning and “loved every moment of it.”
Henry Haveman led Terrace, going 2-for-3 with two RBI and a walk. DeMiero, who pitched the first four innings but didn’t get a decision, was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Fitch struck out two batters in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn the save.
Even with the loss Meadowdale, which is the No. 1 seed in the district tournament, lives to play another game. The Mavericks was scheduled to host Glacier Peak on May 9 to try to advance through the consolation bracket and clinch the district’s second and final state berth.
Hummell said he’s a little worried about playing immediately after an emotionally draining game like Tuesday’s loss to the Hawks, but thinks the Mavs will be able to bounce back.
“Let’s just flush this,” Hummell told his team in center field after the game. “We understand why we lost this game. We walked in three runs. You have to (bounce back). It’s do-or-die at this point. … You get to feel sorry for yourself for one more second, then it’s time to get back to work.”