EVERETT — Jacob Gabler provided another dominant performance on the mound.
Edmonds-Woodway’s lineup racked up runs with timely hitting and a healthy dose of small ball.
And after a two-year gap caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Warriors are headed back to state.
The sixth-seeded Edmonds-Woodway High School baseball team clinched its fourth consecutive state berth with an 11-1 five-inning win over 10th-seeded Mountlake Terrace in a Class 3A District 1 Tournament semifinal Tuesday at Funko Field.
“We’re super excited to punch our ticket to state,” Warriors coach Dan Somoza said. “This team has worked hard and they deserve it.”
Edmonds-Woodway made back-to-back 3A state semifinal appearances in 2017 and 2018, followed by another state trip in 2019. But due to the pandemic, there was no season in 2020 and no postseason in 2021.
That made this most recent state berth all the more meaningful, especially for the Warriors’ senior class.
“Those guys have just worked their butts off,” Somoza said. “… And to see the joy in their eyes, it’s what coaching baseball is all about. I’m really proud of that group of seniors.”
Gabler, one of two Edmonds-Woodway senior aces, got off to an uncharistically shaky start. He opened the game with two walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch that gave Mountlake Terrace its lone run.
But after that, the tall right-hander was his usual dominant self.
Gabler struck out the next three batters and cruised from there, allowing just three base runners the rest of the way. He yielded only one run and two hits in five innings, while totaling eight strikeouts and three walks.
“Jacob was outstanding,” Somoza said. “He showed his moxie. He just came back and dominated the rest of the game. It was fun to watch. He’s just a competitor.”
It was the latest in a season’s worth of dominance from the Warriors’ elite pitching duo.
Gabler has a 0.62 earned-run average in 45 innings this year. Oregon State University commit Gibby Marshall-Inman, another tally righty, has a 0.66 ERA in 42.2 innings.
They’ve pitched the entirety of Edmonds-Woodway’s first three postseason games, allowing only one run and six hits in 19 innings. They’ve struck out a whopping 32 batters over that span.
They’re a major reason why the Warriors have outscored their first three postseason opponents — Shorewood, Stanwood and Mountlake Terrace — by a combined 24-1 margin.
“They make me a good coach,” Somoza said. “… They’re both incredible.”
Edmonds-Woodway (14-9) jumped on University of Hawaii-bound pitcher Adison Mattix in the bottom of the first, with seniors Jack Beers and Lane Corsi lining back-to-back RBI singles into center field to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead.
Edmonds-Woodway then added four more runs in the second, keyed by some fortuitous and aggressive base running.
Drew Warner, a junior, looked like he was about to get thrown out at third base on a back pick. However, the throw from Mountlake Terrace’s catcher was low, which delayed the third baseman’s ensuing throw back to the catcher. That gave Warner just enough time to race home, lean around the catcher’s tag and slide in safely for a 3-1 lead.
Two batters later, Gabler lofted a run-scoring double just inside the left-field line to make it 4-1.
And two batters after that, Corsi beat out an infield single that brought home two more runs. Courtesy runner Nathanuel Marinez scored from second on the play, using his blazing speed to stretch the Warriors’ lead to 6-1.
“That was amazing,” Gabler said of Marinez scoring from second on a ball that didn’t leave the infield.
Edmonds-Woodway added another run on a safety-squeeze bunt in the third inning. The Warriors tacked on two more runs in the fourth, scoring on a balk and a wild pitch.
And they plated another two runs in the fifth, scoring on a fly ball that got lost in the sun and on a walkoff wild pitch that gave the Warriors a mercy-rule victory.
Edmonds-Woodway finished with five stolen bases and took another four bags on wild pitches.
“We just applied a lot of pressure — stealing bases and bunting,” Somoza said. “That’s the way we play, so it was a lot of fun to see everybody contribute, one through nine, in our lineup.”
Gabler, Corsi and Marshall-Inman each had two hits for the Warriors, who snapped Mountlake Terrace’s eight-game win streak.
The Hawks (11-11) get another chance to earn a state berth Saturday, when they face fifth-seeded Mount Vernon in a loser-out contest.
Edmonds-Woodway, meanwhile, advanced to face top-seeded Lynnwood in Saturday’s district championship game. The Royals beat fourth-seeded Meadowdale 3-2 in the other district semifinal.
“We get to keep playing one of the best games in the world,” Gabler said of the Warriors’ postseason run. “It’s just amazing. It’s super fun.”
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