EVERETT — When seniors Ciara Ortiz, Mariah Woolery, Kyra Collingridge and Heidi Davis entered the Edmonds-Woodway softball program three years ago, the Warriors hadn’t reached state since 1998.
But over the course of their careers, the quartet of four-year starters have made the state tournament a regular destination.
Ortiz hit a two-run homer and made a game-ending tag as the Warriors secured their third state berth in four years, beating Everett 4-3 in a Class 3A Northwest District tournament semifinal Tuesday evening at Phil Johnson Ballfields.
“That’s really special for them to do that,” Edmonds-Woodway coach Mike Venable said of his seniors earning their third state appearance. “Now that we’ve gone three out of four (years), hopefully we’ll make it a tradition. They’ve been awesome.”
Yet despite all of the Warriors’ success over the past few years, Everett had repeatedly been a thorn in their side.
Prior to Tuesday, the Seagulls had beaten Edmonds-Woodway eight straight times dating back to 2015, including four times last year and a 5-4 win earlier this season. Each of Everett’s past five wins in the series had come by two runs or less.
This time, the Warriors were on the right side of a tight game against their nemesis.
“We’ve been having trouble with Everett, so it felt good to finally get a win against them,” Venable. “It’s always close between us. We’re evenly matched, but we happened to come out on top this time.”
Edmonds-Woodway (15-7) broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Everett rallied in the top of the seventh. The Seagulls scored a run to cut the deficit to 4-3, and then loaded the bases with two outs.
But with the tying run on third, Ortiz fielded a groundball at shortstop and alertly tagged the runner heading to third for the game-ending out. Ortiz then sprinted to Woolery and leaped into the pitcher’s arms, and the rest of the Warriors joined them in the pitcher’s circle to celebrate another state berth.
“It’s an amazing feeling going to state,” Ortiz said. “It’s really special, especially for us seniors.”
Here’s the final out of Edmonds-Woodway’s 4-3 district semifinal win over Everett.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh, shortstop Ciara Ortiz fielded a two-hopper and made a game-ending tag to secure the Warriors’ third state berth in four years. pic.twitter.com/FQri9RlFN1
— Cameron Van Til (@CameronVanTil) May 16, 2018
Edmonds-Woodway, which rolled to a 22-2 quarterfinal win over Arlington earlier in the afternoon, will face Snohomish in Friday’s district title game. Everett, which beat Lynnwood 6-1 in the quarterfinals, fell into the losers’ bracket and now needs back-to-back wins to earn its fourth consecutive state berth.
The Seagulls (17-5) jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, keyed by a Megan Gordon run-scoring triple.
But the Warriors quickly answered.
After an infield single by Gracie Boyd, the lefty-hitting Ortiz smacked a two-run homer over the right-field fence to tie the game 2-2.
“She looks very small and diminutive up at the plate, and a lot of people think she’s a slapper,” Venable said. “But she’s got awesome power, and she showed it today. And that was a great time. Coming right back and tying it up right away really gave us a lift that carried us through the whole game.”
It was the Western Washington University signee’s first home run of the season.
“I wasn’t really expecting to hit a home run,” Ortiz said. “I was just ready to hit. She was throwing me inside, and that’s my zone. I just went with it, and it went out. I wasn’t really expecting to hit a home run. I was just looking for that pitch.”
The score remained tied until Edmonds-Woodway’s two-run sixth inning.
After base hits by Boyd and Woolery, freshman Annika Forseth blooped a one-out single into the outfield. An Everett oufielder overthrew the third baseman on the play and the ball went into the dugout, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Sofia Chamorro then added a sacrifice fly to extend the Warriors’ lead to 4-2.
In the top of the seventh, Everett’s Sierra Chapman flared a two-out single into the right-center field gap to cut the deficit to 4-3. Then after Gordon drew an intentional walk and Kassidy Millar walked to load the bases, Woolery induced the game-ending groundout.
Woolery tossed a complete game for Edmonds-Woodway, allowing three runs on six hits.
“It got a little scary, (but) she battled through it,” Venable said. “When you throw a complete game and you’re in the seventh inning and you’re tired, you just have to battle hard and that’s what she did. That’s what she’s always done.”
Millar, a sophomore, allowed two earned runs and eight hits in six innings pitched for the Seagulls.