BELLEVUE — Edmonds-Woodway turned around its season after a 2-6 start to advance to the program’s third consecutive 3A state tournament, but the Warriors couldn’t battle back after a rough third inning and fell to Mountain View, 8-0, in the first round on Saturday at Bannerwood Park.
“This team battled and fought through a lot of stuff to get to where we are today,” Warriors coach Dan Somoza said. “Our whole game is to improve throughout the whole year and I thought we did. This game was tough, though. It’s not easy.”
While some may have begun to pen the Warriors’ obituary, there was little panic amongst the players.
“I think it just shows the character that everyone in here has,” said Ian Michael, the Warriors’ senior ace who suffered the loss on the mound Saturday. “We had everyone believe and just compete our butts off. That’s what we did. It all starts with our coaching staff. They came in and poured in everything that they had every day and we’d pour in everything back ourselves.”
In the Warriors’ 2-6 start, seven of the eight games were decided by one run. The turnaround for the Warriors came in a 4-3 win over Mount Si at T-Mobile Park on April 7. It sparked a 13-of-18 stretch, including a 2-2 outing in the 3A District 1 tournament to clinch the state berth and a chance for the Warriors to advance to the 3A state semifinals in Pasco for the third consecutive year.
But ultimately the Thunder (22-2), the No. 2 seed out of District 3/4, proved an insurmountable task.
The game unraveled in the third, as Mountain View brought 12 to the plate in the second time through the order against Michael in a six-run inning.
The eruption was sparked with Isaiah Parker’s one-out triple to the left-center field gap. He was subsequently driven in by Riley McCarthy on a RBI single to left.
“It just cascaded after that, one hit followed another hit,” Somoza said.
The Thunder strung together two more singles after that, the second courtesy of Quinn Rooks, who was credited with two RBI by dumping a single over the shortstop. Andrew Gulliford brought him in with a double down the left-field line and Jack Sobota drove him in from third, after Gulliford stole the base, on a line drive to the pitcher.
“That’s just a really good hitting team, the best hitting team I’ve seen all year,” Michael said. “They just battled. They’d get behind in counts and they’d just fight off pitches until they’d get a good one.”
Gavin Trono worked a walk, Garrett Moen was plunked by a pitch and Parker was walked with the bases loaded in his second plate appearance of the inning for the sixth run of the frame.
Mountain View scored the game’s first run on Gulliford’s RBI single in the second. Gulliford recorded his third RBI of the night by legging out a fielder’s choice in the fourth, which allowed Andrew Selden to score from third.
McCarthy allowed two hits, struck out three and issued four walks to pick up the win for the Thunder.
“He kept us off balance,” Somoza said. “He would be a little wild then throw a strike with his curve. He was a little weird like that and our guys just couldn’t get that big hit.”
The Warriors were able to put pressure on McCarthy during his five innings, but the Warriors stranded nine baserunners.
“They got hits with runners in scoring position, and we just couldn’t get that done today and that was the difference today,” Somoza said.
Aaron Hsu shut the door for Mountain View, allowing a hit, hitting a batter and striking out two.
The Warriors end the season with a 14-11 record. The message Somoza said he attempted to convey to the Warriors was to focus on the journey and not the disappointing results of Saturday.
“I’m very proud of our seniors who took us to the final four the last two years and to state this year,” Somoza said. “Things didn’t go our way today, and it was tough, but that’s not what defines us.”
“I’ve been playing with the same kids since I was 10 years old,” Michael added. “They’re my friends for life, the kids on this team will be brothers for the rest of my life. It’s been an unbelievable ride.”