Everett beats Mavs with walk-off hit

EVERETT — Fans were treated to a home run derby at the Meadowdale-Everett softball game Wednesday night.

Under the lights at Lincoln Field, the two teams combined to belt four homers in the game. However, it was a groundball to the shortstop in the bottom of the eighth inning by freshman Megan Gordon — who hit her first career home run earlier in the game — that clinched the 6-5 eight-inning, walk-off victory for Everett in a possible district championship preview between the two Wesco 3A teams.

“It was exactly what I expected,” said Everett head coach Mike Millar. “Two good pitchers, two good defenses, both great offenses. They have my utmost respect. They’re a great team. Totally what I expected.”

The close result wasn’t a surprise to Meadowdale head coach Dennis Hopkins either, who said Meadowdale and Everett — who sit atop the Wesco 3A South and North standings, respectively — are very similar teams.

“I think we’re a mirror image of each other,” Hopkins said. “I think we truly are identical. You’re looking at yourself when you’re playing this team. Strong pitching, strong hitting, one little hiccup on their side, one little hiccup on our side and it all comes down to who made the hiccup at the wrong time.”

Gordon started the scoring, and the home run derby, with a solo shot in the bottom of the first. It was the freshman’s first career home run and the start of a strong game for the second baseman who went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. The Seagulls’ No. 2 hitter finished a single short of the cycle and drove in the winning run on a groundball that was misplayed by Meadowdale, allowing Everett’s Erika Hall to score from third base in the bottom of the eighth.

“I was considering a bunt there,” Millar said, “but the way she had been swinging the bat I thought there was a pretty decent chance she might hit a ball out to right field like she had been doing.”

Meadowdale sophomore Emma Helm gave the Mavericks their first lead of the game with a two-run home run in the top of the third inning.

However, the lead was short lived. Everett’s Gabby Koehler responded with a two-run homer of her own to put Everett (10-0 league, 12-1 overall) back on top in the bottom half of the inning.

The two teams continued to exchange runs throughout the contest, including the seventh when Meadowdale again cleared the fence thanks to a solo home run by Hailey Costello to give the Mavericks a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the final inning of regulation.

But Gordon led the inning off with a triple and scored on an RBI single by winning pitcher Sydney Taggart, who went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored, to force the extra inning.

“I’m just extremely proud of them,” Millar said. “These girls are working hard and they’re hard work is starting to show every game.

“I told the girls before the game that I consider (Meadowdale) one of the top 3A teams in the state. Definitely, one of the top 3A teams in our conference, without a doubt. It was a good opportunity to see where we’re at and what we need to improve on. It was a great game. I think everybody here was entertained.”

Meadowdale (8-2, 10-2), which averages 11 runs per game and has won nine of its 10 league games by 10 or more runs, relies on home runs for a lot of its offense, according to Hopkins.

“The long ball is our forte,” he said. “We’re hitting a lot of them this year. We just came up a little short tonight.”

Helm finished 2-for-3 and Julia Reuble went 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Mavericks, who are hoping to play the Seagulls again down the road.

Perhaps at 6 p.m. on May 21 at Phil Johnson Fields in the 3A District 1 championship game.

“This will, if we continue the way we’re going this season and they continue, this will be the district championship game,” Hopkins said. “We’ll learn from this one. … I’d play them tomorrow if they want.”

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