SEATTLE — The Edmonds-Woodway baseball team waited 27 years to make its first appearance in the state semifinals.
The Warriors will have to wait a bit longer for their first state title.
Third-ranked E-W saw its magical postseason run come to an end Friday night at Safeco Field as the Warriors fell 5-0 to No. 5 Gig Harbor in the Class 3A semifinals at the stadium the Seattle Mariners call home.
“I’m proud of these guys no matter what,” E-W head coach Dan Somoza said. “They’ve accomplished so much. They played hard all year and we’ve been in a lot of close games. It’s the farthest this high school has ever gone and I’m so proud of that. It’s just a great group of guys to be around all season long and there’s only one team that gets to really enjoy it. We were hoping it was us, but it wasn’t in the works. I’m still proud of the guys and the great thing is we get to play again (today).”
The Tides (23-4) advance to Saturday’s championship game where they will take on fourth-ranked Southridge (23-4). The Warriors (19-7) face top-ranked Mercer Island in the consolation game at 1 p.m.
E-W reached the semis for the first time since Woodway High School and Edmonds High School combined in 1990. The Warriors captured the Wesco South regular-season and District 1 titles before upending Mountain View and Arlington last week at the regional tournament in Mount Vernon.
But E-W struggled to solve Gig Harbor starter and Washington State signee Avery Jones. The 6-foot-6, hard-throwing righty also featured a curveball he could throw for strikes as he punched out nine while allowing just five baserunners.
“He flat-out beat us today – there was no doubt about it,” Somoza said. “I thought we hit four balls – two by Brandon (Mitchell), two by Kosta (Cooper) – on the money in center field and it just didn’t carry and their center fielder made a great play. It really just didn’t go our way. Their hits fell and we just couldn’t get anything to drop and he started to get into a little rhythm. It seemed like we had two strikes on every hitter and we just couldn’t get anything going offensively.”
Both leadoff hitter Cooper and No. 3 hitter Mitchell flew out to deep center in the first inning. Mitchell did so again in the fourth and Cooper followed with another deep drive in the sixth that wound up being caught.
“It’s a little deeper fence than I’m used to,” Mitchell said. “At Woodway there’s a net there at like 310 (feet) so those are probably doubles at Woodway, but I don’t know, it was cool to play the big field. It just sucks if you hit it far, but not far enough.”
Meanwhile, E-W ace Nick Hull surrendered 10 hits and five runs in six-plus innings. It was the first loss of the season for Hull who entered the game with a perfect 6-0 record and a 1.61 ERA. Hull, bound for NCAA Divison I Grand Canyon University, struck out 10 before reaching his pitch count in the top of the seventh.
The Tides struck for three runs in the top of the second inning. Chad Stevens led off with a single up the middle and went to third on a two-base throwing error. Jordan Haworth and Cameron Brooks followed with back-to-back RBI doubles, and two outs later Cole Smith drove in another run for a 3-0 Gig Harbor lead.
That lead stretched to 5-0 in the top of the fifth. With one out Cameron MacIntosh singled and Stevens followed with a line drive to right that a diving Karsen Tjarneberg just missed. As Tjarneberg chased after the ball in the right-field corner, Haworth circled the bases for a two-run inside-the-park home run. Tjarneberg injured his left shoulder on the play and he was replaced in right field by Aaron Ramos. Somoza did not know the nature or severity of the injury.
“Karsen made a great effort,” Somoza said. “It just missed his glove and then it kicked off in behind the corner of right field, the worst place possible. No luck right there, but it was a valiant by him.”
E-W had just three hits. Ian Michael blooped a two-out single into short left-center in the third and Cooper followed with a walk. That was the closest thing the Warriors had to a rally and Jones induced a flyout to end the inning. Julian Kodama later added a two-out single in the sixth and Hull singled with one out in the seventh.
Cooper and Mitchell were held hitless despite a pair of hard-hit balls each.
“(Jones) had a pretty good curveball,” Mitchell said. “He missed a lot on me with the curveball, but that’s why I got so many fastballs.”
MacIntosh and Brooks each had two hits and Stevens finished 3-for-3 with a walk, two runs and three RBI.
Southridge 5, Mercer Island 4 (semifinal)
Noah Weber scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh to send the fourth-ranked Suns (23-4) to Saturday’s title game with a 5-4 win over top-ranked Mercer Island (20-3).
Mason Martin doubled and walked three times and scored a run for Southridge while Casey Proctor was 2-for-4 and scored a run.
Noah Hsue was 2-for-4 with a run for the Islanders who play for third place today.
At Safeco Field
GH 030 020 0—5 10 1
EW 000 000 0—0 3 1
Nick Hull, Julian Kodama (7) and Garrison Krohn. Avery Jones and Cameron MacIntosh WP—Jones. LP—Hull. Highlights—Jones (GH) 9 Ks, CG, shutout; MacIntosh (GH) 2-4, RS; Chad Stevens (GH) 3-3, HR, 3 RBI; Hull (EW) 10 Ks, 1-3; Julian Kodama (EW) 1-3,; Ian Michael (EW) 1-2.