SHORELINE — After fouling off several fastballs, Brandon Mitchell found one he liked.
Then with one swing of the bat, the Edmonds-Woodway slugger crushed his third walk-off hit of the season and punched the Warriors’ ticket to state.
Edmonds-Woodway tossed a combined no-hitter and Mitchell delivered yet another clutch hit as the Warriors clinched a state-tournament berth with a 4-3 nine-inning win over Snohomish in a Class 3A District 1 semifinal Tuesday at Meridian Park Fields.
“When (it was) full-count, I knew he was going to come with a fastball,” said Mitchell, who finished 2-for-5 and drove in two runs. “(The previous pitches) were strikes, but not exactly a good enough pitch to hit it where I would like. So I fouled them off, and then found one right down the middle.”
The victory gives Edmonds-Woodway (16-6) its fourth state berth in seven seasons and advances the Warriors to Saturday’s district title game against Wesco 3A South rival Shorewood. Snohomish (15-7) will host Marysville Pilchuck in a winner-to-state, loser-out game Wednesday.
With Tuesday’s game tied at 3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Edmonds-Woodway’s Kosta Cooper and Julian Kodama drew back-to-back two-out walks to put the winning run in scoring position.
Mitchell, a senior, then clobbered a full-count fastball to the left-center-field fence to bring home Cooper and send the Warriors to state.
“I wish Brandon could come up (to bat) nine times,” Edmonds-Woodway coach Dan Somoza said with a laugh. “He comes up, and you always believe you have a chance to get a hit. And that’s a great feeling to have as a team and a coach.”
Four Warriors pitchers combined for a no-hitter, yet struggled with control while surrendering three runs and finishing with nine walks and two hit batters.
After Edmonds-Woodway starter Kosta Cooper allowed one run in five innings pitched, two Warriors relievers failed to record an out in the sixth as Snohomish tied the game with two runs on three walks and two hit batters.
But with the Panthers threatening to take the lead, Kodama entered in relief and escaped a bases-loaded, no-outs jam to keep the game tied at 3 apiece.
Kodama was aided by a bizarre play that began with a wild pitch and confusion on the base paths. Edmonds-Woodway catcher Garrison Krohn attempted to throw out the runner at second base, which prompted the runner on third to head for home. Mitchell, the shortstop, then fired home to throw out the runner at the plate and end the inning.
“You can’t even practice some of that stuff,” Somoza said. “It just comes up, and it’s pretty wild and crazy.”
Kodama pitched the remainder of the game for the Warriors, tossing four scoreless innings and allowing only one batter to reach base.
“Julian didn’t even have time to warm up,” Somoza said. “Julian just came in and threw strikes, and he dominated from there on. Bases loaded, no outs — he gave up no runs. I was so impressed by him for him to step up like that. … That shows a lot of moxie.”
After the Panthers drew four walks in the top of the fourth to plate the game’s first run, Edmonds-Woodway scored three runs on three consecutive hits in the bottom of the fifth.
Kodama roped a game-tying double into right field, Mitchell lined a go-ahead single over the second baseman’s head and Krohn crushed a run-scoring double into the gap to make it 3-1.
In the top of the ninth, Warriors center fielder Ian Michael saved a run with a full-extension diving catch that ended the inning and set the stage for Mitchell’s walk-off heroics.