For the first six and a half innings of Monday’s District 1 semi-final game, everything for the Warriors went according to script: Great pitching and defense and just enough offense to find themselves leading 3-0 heading into the home half of the final inning for Lake Stevens. Seven batters later, Edmonds-Woodway left the field defeated, succumbing to a Vikings 4 run-rally, losing the game 4-3. The game was played under a brilliant blue sky at the Aquasox stadium in Everett. “It was a little lucky,” said Vikings coach Roger Anderson, “ but I’ll take luck over skill any day.”
Trailing 3-0 and down to their last three outs, the Vikings’ first batter lined a single just past Warrior shortstop Joey Rees. Catcher Matt Del Fante then reached on an infield hit, putting runners on first and second. Warrior pitcher Austin Whitehouse got Zach Tetrich looking for out number one. Justin Brown hit a grounder towards the second base hole that pulled first baseman Cameron Sharpe away from the bag, but he fielded it cleanly, tossed to Whitehouse covering, but unfortunately for the Warriors, Brown reached safely. Gavin O’Neil then grounded into a force at second, scoring a run, but leaving the Vikings down to their last out. Following an infield hit, Brandon Keliher came to the plate for Lake Stevens with the tying run on third and the winning on first. Keliher hit a sinking line-drive towards a charging E-W rightfielder. The ball got by him, scoring not only O’Neil from third, but Corey Bullens from first with the game winner.
The fourth inning is where the Warriors scored their first run of the game. Tate Budnick walked, got moved to second on a passed ball and then to third on a Rees single. Eason then was called for a balk, with Budnick being awarded home and E-W scoring its first run of the game.
The Warriors added to their lead in the fifth with Cameron Sharpe getting aboard after being hit by a pitch. E-W then got three straight singles from Mac McLachlan, Jason Smarr and Budnick, the last one scoring a pinch-running Dominic Marinez. Rees then hit a sac fly to left to plate McLachlan for the Warriors’ third run of the game.
Whitehouse pitched admirably in defeat, throwing a career-high 133 pitches, striking out six and walking only one batter. Lake Stevens starting pitcher Jacob Eason lasted 5 innings, giving up all three runs to the Warriors. The loss sends the Warriors into the losers bracket, starting with a 4 p.m. game Tuesday as they host Monroe needing to win not only tomorrow but two more games if they are to get to the state tournament. Tuesday’s winner faces another loser-out game Thursday back at Monday’s site, Everett’s Aquasox stadium. The Vikings, meanwhile, have now clinched a state berth and will play the winner of the Cascade-Snohomish game for the Wesco title.
E-W 0 0 0 1 2 0 0- 3 6 3
LS 0 0 0 0 0 0 4- 4 7 0
WP: Skylar Swords
LP : Austin Whitehouse
— By Jeff Smarr