EVERETT — Meadowdale softball is back. And it avenged its season-ending loss from last season in its triumphant return to the 3A state tournament.
After Marysville Pilchuck ended the Mavericks’ 2018 campaign in a 3A District 1 Tournament loser-out contest, the Mavericks exacted revenge against the Tomahawks on Tuesday at Phil Johnson Fields, as their offense erupted for 12 hits in a 7-3 win to clinch their seventh state berth in eight seasons.
“We’ve been practicing super hard and we’ve definitely had blood out for Pilchuck since that game,” junior pitcher Kate Houghton said.
Houghton was almost unhittable in the circle for the Mavericks, aside from serving up two home runs to Marysville Pilchuck’s Cassidy Phelps. The Tomahawks’ sophomore infielder uncorked a mammoth homer to left field to break up Houghton’s perfect game in the fifth and a two-run missile to center field in the seventh, producing all of the Tomahawks’ runs.
Those are the only two hits the Tomahawks could muster against Houghton, who fanned 15 and just walked one in the winning effort.
“I was feeling pretty good,” Houghton said. “I had a lot of adrenaline, I was just doing my best. And that’s all I could do.”
Houghton had so much adrenaline and so much desire to recapture the feeling of advancing to state that she flipped off her mask and sauntered off to the dugout and gearing up to celebrate after she recorded the second out of the top of the seventh. It quickly dawned on her there was one more out to get.
“Maybe a little too eager,” she said with a laugh.
The Mavericks jumped on top in the first on Sophia Ward’s RBI single, and tacked on two more in the third on Olivia Dimmock’s two-run double to left-center.
The Mavericks did most of their damage offensively in the fifth, stringing together four consecutive baserunners to lead off the inning and scoring four runs on RBI singles from Taylor Eskew, Kaitlyn Bridgewater and Emma Meyer, and an RBI groundout from Houghton.
Stringing together hits is greatly important this time of year, said Meadowdale coach Dennis Hopkins.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit (at-bat) the last couple of games and for them to figure it out a little bit and start hitting (is important),” Hopkins said.
The Tomahawks advanced to the district semifinals in dramatic fashion. Marysville Getchell loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh, Emily Downing induced a force out for the first and an inning-ending 5-2-3 double play to win 4-3 and advance.
Marysville Pilchuck still retains its state aspirations. The Tomahawks will play Edmonds-Woodway in a loser-out, winner-to-state matchup against Edmonds-Woodway at 4:30 p.m. at Phil Johnson Fields.
“It’s not new to us, we always seem to get one of the first games on Tuesday night and lose one,” Marysville Pilchuck coach Aaron Zachry said. “We’ve gone through the backdoor getting there when we go. … I told the girls in preparation this week that we need to win two before we lose two and then we can go.”
Meadowdale, which was undefeated in regular-season Wesco 3A play, will take on Snohomish on Thursday in the district championship game at 6:30 p.m. , with the top seed out of District 1 up for grabs.
“We’re back on track to where we want to be,” Hopkins said. “Last year we came up short and our team this year came in fully focused in getting back there. Obviously, we took the league championship, but we want the three trophies. We’ll hopefully come back on Thursday and get the district one.”