Stayin’ alive: Shorewood sweeps Meadowdale

  • Tony Dondero<br>Enterprise writer
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 12:04pm


It all fell into place over a course of two days for the Shorewood baseball team.

Behind gutsy pitching performances by lefties Alex Kuniyoshi and Clinton Lindgren, the Thunderbirds swept Meadowdale April 30 and May 1 to keep its playoff hopes alive.

“(Clinton) and Alex just came up big for us to give us a chance,” Shorewood coach Wyatt Tonkin said.

The wins, coupled with losses by Mountlake Terrace and Mariner, earned the Thunderbirds a tie-breaker game against Mountlake Terrace May 2 after Enterprise deadlines. That determined the fourth and final playoff team from the Western Conference South Division. The winner will play either at Snohomish or Lake Stevens Saturday, May 5, at 4 p.m.

Shorewood finished the regular season with a conference record of 7-9, tying them with Terrace which lost May 1 to Shorecrest 10-6. Kamiak clinched the division’s third playoff spot with an 8-8 record after eliminating Mariner 12-6.

After Kuniyoshi, a sophomore, threw a complete game and struck out nine in a 5-2 Shorewood win on Monday, Lindgren followed up with 6 1/3 solid innings of work during a 5-2 win on Tuesday.

Lindgren gave up seven hits and seven walks but only surrendered two unearned runs while striking out seven. He worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first inning by striking out Meadowdale’s Matt Gorman and coaxing a grounder by Michael Suh back to the mound.

With one out in the second, Meadowdale scored a run after a walk, single and error. But after the Mavericks loaded the bases on another error, Lindgren got Ricky Denham to ground back to the mound to start a home-to-first double play that ended the inning. Meadowdale scored again in the fourth to tie the game at 2-2 but again left the bases loaded.

Lindgren said he wanted to throw strikes with runners on base and he was able to do that.

“I just tried to get ahead of hitters and establish my curveball,” he said.

Shorewood took the lead briefly in the fourth after Cole Clerget hit a solo home run to left field and Andrew Giles doubled and scored on an error. Meadowdale tied it in the bottom of the fourth and it stayed that way until the top of the seventh.

Shorewood’s Geordan Medalia led off with a hard single to center off starter Jake Haight. Pat McAree came in to pinch-run for Medalia and Chase Anselment relieved Haight. J.K. Dykes singled and Devin Whittle dropped a perfect bunt between the mound and first base and reached safely to load the bases.

Clerget singled to drive in McAree and Dykes with the go-ahead runs and Whittle scored on a double-play grounder by Giles.

“J.K., Devin and Geordan had outstanding at-bats in the seventh when we needed them,” Tonkin said.

Lindgren got one out in the seventh before walking two and gave way to Bobby LeCount who got the final two outs and earned the save.

Lindgren, a junior, said he wanted to do his best to keep the season alive for the seniors.

“It’s definitely the most important game I’ve played in,” he said.

Meadowdale clinched the top 3A District 1 seed out of the Western Conference despite limping into the playoffs after losing its last five conference games. The Mavericks finished tied with Shorecrest at 7-9, but their sweep of the Scots earlier in the season coupled with an Everett loss to Lake Stevens gave them the top seed. The Mavericks did break out of their funk for a moment, beating previously undefeated Eatonville, the fourth-ranked 2A team in the state, 5-4 April 28.

Against Shorewood, the Mavs left 14 runners on base.

“That’s kind of been the story of our season,” Meadowdale coach Bill Hummel said. “We haven’t had anyone step up and get the big hit for us.”

Haight pitched well, retiring the first eight batters he faced.

“Our pitching and defense have been solid all year long,” Hummel said. “We’ve gotten quality starts every game.”

But Haight didn’t get much run support from the Mavs, who average less than four runs per game, and Shorewood’s offense broke through in the seventh against him.

Meanwhile, the T-birds have seven sophomores on the roster, many of whom have played in 28 varsity games. Now was the time to prove their mettle, Tonkin said.

Chris Todd, a Shorewood graduate who played in the San Francisco Giants minor league system, came to batting practice last Saturday to give the team a “Shorewood pride” speech, Tonkin said.

“The last few games I took these guys aside and said ‘we can’t lean on the excuse that we’re young,’” Tonkin said.

And they didn’t, buying themselves at least one more game.

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