Glacier Peak’s Kazuki Kodama celebrates after closing out a game against Monroe on May 3, 2017, at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Glacier Peak’s Kazuki Kodama celebrates after closing out a game against Monroe on May 3, 2017, at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Glacier Peak beats Monroe, clinches share of Wesco 4A title

SNOHOMISH — It certainly wasn’t the prettiest of games.

But in a contest that featured sloppy play from both sides, the Glacier Peak baseball team prevailed to claim a share of the Wesco 4A crown in its first season since moving up from the 3A classification.

After a tough walk-off loss to Monroe on Tuesday that cost the Grizzlies a shot at an outright conference title, Glacier Peak bounced back Wednesday with an 11-8 win over the visiting Bearcats to split the league crown with Mount Vernon.

“It means a lot,” Grizzlies senior Ethan Smith said. “It’s a new experience for us going up to 4A — better pitching and better teams. But I think overall we’ve taken it pretty well and we’ve overcome the odds that were given to us. I feel like a lot of teams doubted us, and I think we overcame it.”

Glacier Peak (13-6 overall, 10-4 Wesco 4A) finished tied with Mount Vernon atop Wesco 4A, but the Bulldogs will be the top seed for the upcoming district tournament by virtue of the preseason tiebreaker draws.

The No. 2-seeded Grizzlies will have a first-round bye in the district tournament and host either third-seeded Jackson or sixth-seeded Cascade in Saturday’s semifinals.

“We just knew that if we wanted that first-round bye, we had to win today,” Glacier Peak coach Bob Blair said. “And so they came out ready to go from the get-go … That’s what they came to do — to take a part of the title.”

The game was a stark contrast from Tuesday, when Monroe won 3-2 in a well-played contest. Both teams struggled Wednesday with sloppy fielding and shaky pitching, combining for 13 walks, six hit batters and seven errors.

“As good as yesterday’s game was, today’s game was equally bad,” Blair said afterward. “Today was not pretty.”

Smith kickstarted a three-run first inning for the Grizzlies with a leadoff triple over the center fielder’s head, and then scored on a single by Colton Bunt. Later in the inning, Deven Kamihara grounded a two-run single down the left-field line to make it 3-0.

Then after Monroe (13-7, 8-6) tied the game with three runs in the top of the second, Glacier Peak answered in the bottom half of the inning with three runs on three walks, a wild pitch and an RBI single by Brandon West that gave the Grizzlies a 6-3 lead.

Glacier Peak pulled away with a five-run fourth inning, sending 11 batters to the plate in the frame while capitalizing on a pair of Bearcats errors. Michael Vickery highlighted the inning with a two-run single up the middle that stretched the margin to 11-4.

Yet just when the Grizzlies seemed firmly in control, their pitchers suffered through a rough sixth inning that featured four walks and three hit batters. Monroe took advantage, needing only one hit to score four runs and cut the deficit to 11-8.

But pitcher Kazuki Kodama steadied Glacier Peak in the seventh, entering in relief to deliver a 1-2-3 inning that secured the victory.

The win came on senior day for the Grizzlies, who have 18 seniors on their roster.

“This team has been together for a long time,” Blair said. “They’re a good group of guys, they like each other and they’re playing for each other and not for themselves. And that’s always the key when you get into the playoffs.”

Monroe will enter the district tournament as the No. 4 seed and host No. 5-seed Lake Stevens in a loser-out game Saturday.

“I feel really good about my team,” Bearcats coach Eric Chartrand said. “We battle, the kids work really hard and these seniors have been in this tournament now for the third year in a row. So they understand what’s at stake and they’re ready.”

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