EVERETT—As members of the Everett baseball team congregated around the visitors dugout at Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium on Saturday, senior left fielder Tyler Bates bellowed out a question, mostly in jest: “Who’s down to camp on the field tonight?”
As absurd of a proposition as that is, it prompted the response, “Actually?” among teammates.
Although there almost certainly wasn’t baseball players in tents on the turf at Funko Field on Saturday night, the Seagulls soaked in the moment the best they could after fourth-seeded Everett blanked third-seeded Shorewood, 6-0, to claim the 3A District 1 Tournament championship.
“Oh man, it was amazing,” senior pitcher Nick Mardesich said after second baseman Jonathan Murphy caught the final out, a shallow popup to right field. “I don’t even know how to explain it. I don’t know how words can describe that. (There were) butterflies in my stomach. It was crazy.”
Mardesich was on the mound for the Seagulls in one of the program’s biggest games in decades and he tossed a gem, a seven-hit shutout with four strikeouts and two walks.
Everett head coach Alex Barashkoff quipped that he rarely thinks of getting anyone up in the bullpen to warm up in Mardesich’s starts because he’s so adept at managing his pitch count. He executed that exceptionally well on Saturday, attacking the strike zone and effectively pitching to contact to go the distance.
“His offspeed was great,” Barashkoff said. “He’s a warrior. He wanted that game bad and he said he wanted to go the whole way.
“That helps keep his pitch count down so he can go complete games. We don’t really want him to strike people out, we want fly outs, ground outs in the bottom of the order so he can keep his pitch count down. These pitchers who strike a bunch of people out don’t last until the fifth inning because they’re out of pitches and they have to come out.”
There was no emotional letdown for Everett after a convincing 7-3 win over top-seeded Edmonds-Woodway on Tuesday to clinch the program’s first state berth since 1995. The Seagulls plated three runs in the first inning to provide Mardesich some run support early on.
Everett eventually plated three insurance runs in the seventh on Tebatebai’s RBI single and Caden Lockhart’s two-run double, plenty for Mardesich to work with.
The Seagulls enter the 3A state tournament as the No. 1 seed out of District 1. They’ll take on Skyview, the No. 5 seed out of the West Central/Southwest bi-district, at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Sherman Anderson field in Mount Vernon.
The Thunderbirds, the No. 2 seed into districts, will face Ingraham, the No. 3 seed out of District 2, at 10 a.m. next Saturday at either Curtis High School or Propstra Field in Vancouver.
Minutes after the final out, former players began to funnel down to the field, shaking Barashkoff’s hand and congratulating him. He deflected the praise to the players, gleefully passing along the district championship trophy.
For the Seagulls, it’s not only a symbol for a championship, but unquestioned progress that’s helped turn around the program.