SHORELINE — Tony Hamilton confessed he wasn’t all that productive in the classroom earlier this week.
It’s no wonder his mind was elsewhere. The Shorewood baseball team’s playoff hopes were hinging on his performance in Tuesday’s regular-season finale against Everett.
“I wasn’t paying much attention in school,” Hamilton said. “I had a lot running through my head.”
The junior pitcher didn’t disappoint.
After escaping a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first, Hamilton settled into a groove and paced the Thunderbirds to a 9-2 victory over Everett in a matchup that determined the Wesco 4A South Division’s final postseason bid.
With their two-game sweep of Everett this week, the T-birds earned a spot in a Northwest District 4A pigtail playoff game Thursday, results of which were not available for this edition of The Enterprise.
Shorewood (10-8 league, 12-8 overall) was scheduled to host the Wesco North’s fifth-place finisher in the loser-out contest. The winner advances to face Wesco North champion Marysville-Pilhcuck at 1 p.m. May 8 at Marysville-Pilhcuck High School.
“We’re back where we belong — in the playoffs,” T-birds coach Wyatt Tonkin said.
Last season the T-birds were edged out of a postseason berth by the Seagulls, who defeated Shorewood twice to claim the division’s final berth. Facing identical circumstances, the T-birds evened the score this year.
“It was the same scenario as last year with Everett, only we were better armed this year,” Tonkin said, referring to Shorewood’s pitching duo of Luke Farden and Hamilton.
Farden kept the Seagulls in check in a 9-3 win Monday afternoon and Hamilton was just as poised a day later.
Both hurlers have benefited from increased run support. The T-birds averaged more than seven runs per game in their final four Wesco South series.
“We’ve come alive with the bats the past few games.” Tonkin said. “I knew it was going to come sooner or later.”
Shorewood pulled out to a 9-0 lead over Everett in Tuesday’s playoff-clinching win.
Tyler Tonkin blasted a three-run home run to left field in the bottom of the second and Hamilton capped a four-run fourth inning with a two-run single that made it 7-0. The T-birds tacked on two runs in the fifth off an Everett error and Jeremy Sage’s sacrifice fly.
Hamilton and Tommy Guttu contributed back-to-back doubles as part of a six-run fifth inning that keyed Shorewood’s win on Monday.
Tonkin praised this year’s seniors for guiding the T-birds back to the playoffs after last year’s absence. Shorewood has advanced to the playoffs five of Tonkin’s six years as head coach.
“We’ve got a different senior class this year. These guys are leaders,” Tonkin said. “We had about five guys who are multi-sport athletes. They’ve been through the wars and they know what it takes to get here. We’ve got great senior leadership.”