EVERETT — After going hitless for five innings against Arlington pitcher Cameron Smith, the Edmonds-Woodway baseball team decided to play some small ball.
The strategy worked, and the Warriors are headed back to the Class 3A state tournament.
Sam Alvarado and Jalil Marinez sparked Edmonds-Woodway with back-to-back perfectly placed bunt singles, starter Ian Michael pitched 62⁄3 scoreless innings and the Warriors clinched a state berth with a 3-0 win over Arlington in a 3A Northwest District tournament semifinal Tuesday afternoon at Everett Memorial Stadium.
“I felt like we were sort of the underdog this year,” Edmonds-Woodway coach Dan Somoza said. “People were writing us (off). But these guys showed a lot of heart, and we’re back in (state).”
It marks the second consecutive state berth for the Warriors (14-8), who made program history with a fourth-place state finish last season.
Arlington (20-2) fell into the loser’s bracket with the loss. It snapped a 19-game winning streak for the Eagles, who now need back-to-back wins to earn their third consecutive state berth.
Michael, a junior, finished one out shy of a complete-game shutout after exiting because of the 105-pitch limit. The right-hander struck out six batters and allowed five hits and two walks.
“Ian had a heart of a lion out there today,” Somoza said. “That is a tough lineup (and) he attacked them. He went right after them. … That’s the best game I’ve ever seen him pitch.”
Smith, a junior, allowed two earned runs and three hits in 61⁄3 innings pitched for Arlington.
Alvarado and Marinez broke up Smith’s no-hitter in the top of the sixth with back-to-back push-bunt singles in between the pitcher and first baseman. An error advanced Alvarado to third on the latter bunt, putting runners on the corners with no outs.
Julian Kodama, the ensuing batter, then drove in Alvarado with a deep sacrifice fly to left field that gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead.
“We just decided to switch it up and go for bunts,” Somoza said. “We work on those (push bunts) every day, so it’s fun to see those actually work in a game.”
Edmonds-Woodway pushed its lead to 3-0 in the top of the seventh, adding a pair of insurance runs on a hit batter, a Michael double, two walks and a wild pitch.
Arlington loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Warriors reliever Logan Kruse induced a game-ending pop-out. The Eagles stranded eight base runners.