LYNNWOOD — Two days prior, the Meadowdale High School baseball team mustered just three hits in a shutout loss to Lynnwood.
Broderick Bluhm and the Mavericks returned the favor Friday afternoon.
And as a result, the two league rivals split the Wesco 3A/2A South crown.
Bluhm tossed a two-hit shutout and Meadowdale captured a share of the league title with a 5-0 win over visiting Lynnwood in the regular-season finale for both teams.
“It was a little nerve-wracking going into it,” Bluhm said of taking the mound with a league championship at stake. “But the nerves helped me come up to the challenge.”
This two-game set to close the regular season was a de facto league championship series, with Meadowdale (12-7, 11-3 Wesco 3A/2A South) and Lynnwood (12-7, 11-3) tied atop the league standings heading into Wednesday.
The Royals won the first game 2-0 behind a two-hit shutout by senior Leyon Camantigue.
But on Friday, it was Bluhm’s turn to shine. The junior left-hander struck out six batters and walked four, while facing just four batters above the minimum.
Bluhm leaned on an error-free day from his defense, inducing four flyouts, four groundouts, three lineouts and two popouts. He also was aided by senior catcher Tyler Brummitt, who threw out two runners on the base paths.
“You tip your cap to their pitcher,” first-year Lynnwood coach Scott Watson said. “He did a great job and shut us down.”
It marked the second time in the past three full-length seasons that Meadowdale has claimed at least a share of the Wesco 3A/2A South title. The Mavericks won the league crown outright in 2018.
But after the canceled 2020 season and graduating seven seniors from a team that went 6-7 during last year’s abbreviated season, outside expectations weren’t particularly high for Meadowdale this spring, according to first-year coach Darren Watkins.
“Our slogan this year was, ‘Something to prove,’” Watkins said. “And we’re starting to prove some things right now.”
For Lynnwood, the shared league title is its first league championship in at least two decades.
The Royals came close in 2016, when they finished in a three-way tie with Glacier Peak and Shorewood atop the Wesco 3A South. However, Glacier Peak claimed the league title outright that year by virtue of a tiebreaker, based on its head-to-head results against the other two teams.
By earning a share of the Wesco 3A/2A South title this year, Lynnwood baseball joined girls basketball as the only two Royals sports programs with a league championship in the past two decades.
“Our success (this year) has been all about pitching and defense,” Watson said. “And it’s been fun. … I’m proud of the kids. They’ve done a nice job.”
The Mavericks jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, when senior Brandon Brunette lined a two-out single to center field to bring home a pair of runs.
In the second inning, Bluhm lined a two-out single just over the shortstop’s head to extend Meadowdale’s lead to 3-0.
Jayden Costa, a freshman, then added a pair of run-scoring singles to left field in the third and fifth innings to make it 5-0.
Bluhm and Costa each finished with a pair of hits for the Mavericks, who scored four of their five runs on two-out singles.
“We were focused in the box today,” Watkins said. “We’re a fastball-hitting team. … And when we got the fastball, we made contact.”
Mason Lane, a senior, went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles for Lynnwood. Bluhm didn’t allow a hit to the rest of the Royals’ lineup.
“I had a great team behind me,” Bluhm said. “… We have probably the best (defense) in Wesco.”
Brummitt’s two throwouts at catcher helped keep Lynnwood off the board. In the third inning, Brummitt threw out a runner who was attempting to steal second. And in the fourth, Brummitt blocked a ball in the dirt and threw out a runner who was trying to advance to third on the wild pitch.
“Tyler is the best catcher I’ve ever pitched to,” Bluhm said. “He has a crazy arm, is crazy smart behind the plate, always knows where to throw it and what to do. He’s just great out there.”
Both teams now turn their attention to what figures to be a wide-open Class 3A District 1 Tournament. The tournament begins with next Thursday’s play-in round, followed by next Saturday’s quarterfinals.
“Going into the postseason, anybody can beat anybody,” Watkins said. “… Everybody’s gonna be ready.”