Baseball: Warriors rally in bottom of seventh, earn state berth

warrior-logoWith the game tied in the bottom of the seventh inning and a berth to the state 4A high school baseball tournament on the line, Edmonds-Woodway coach Dan Somoza turned to pinch-hitter Brett Stoneman, and the left-hander delivered a walk-off smash high off the right field fence, securing the win and a spot in the tournament. The blast scored pinch-runner Dominic Marinez from second and secured a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Redmond Mustangs. The Warriors used all 16 players on their roster, with Stoneman being the 16th to enter the game.

“As soon as you heard it, you knew,” said Warrior coach Dan Somoza “It was the biggest hit of the year.”

The Warriors came to the plate in the seventh, having stranded 12 base runners against Redmond starter Brendon Echelberger. Mustang coach Dan Pudwill, deciding that Echelberger’s 115 pitches were enough, turned to right-hander Milo Mincin to close out the game.

Joey Reese reached first base after being hit by a pitch. Garrison Krohn then dropped a single to right center. Mincon bounced back and struck out the next batter. Somoza inserted pinch runners Brady Edwards on second and Marinez on first. Chantz Justice came up and promptly lined a hit over second base. Outfielder Brandon Burditt’s throw to the plate was just late, scoring Edwards with the tying run. “I’m so happy for Chantz,” said Somoza. “He’s bounced back in a big way.” Three pitches later, Stoneman took a fastball and sent it high in the net, scoring Marinez easily, causing an eruption from the Warrior dugout. “I was sitting on a fastball. I didn’t know how far it went. I was just running as fast as I could,” said Stoneman.

The Warriors’ first run came in the top of the fifth. Reese beat out an infield grounder to third, then moved to second on Krohn’s hit down the third-base line. Cameron Sharpe came up trying to advance the runners on a bunt. Instead, the Mustang catcher threw behind the runner at second, but there was no one covering so the ball went into center field, scoring Reese and allowing Krohn to third. Echelberger was able to end the threat there as he induced a fly to right before Krohn was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to third base, limiting E-W to just one run.

Austin Whitehouse got the start on the mound for E-W, shutting out Redmond for the first five innings, while allowing only five hits. After the Warriors finally scored the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, Whitehouse tired a bit, giving up hits to the first three batters he faced, the last one a double that tied the game at one. Following a go-ahead sacrifice fly to left, Somoza went to the pen and brought in Austin Vaughn Jones. The junior got Mincin to pop to first and then struck out Echelberger to keep the Warriors within one at 2-1. “Austin (Whitehouse )just stuck to his game plan and Austin Vaughn (Jones,) just came in and shut the door,” Somoza said.

The Warriors had only eight hits in the battle with Redmond, spread out among seven players, with Krohn going 2-3. “Everyone was involved, either in the field, at the plate or on the bases. It was truly a team win, “ said Somoza.

Monday’s win, the Warriors’ third straight following last Monday’s heartbreaker, sends the boys to Heidelberg Park in Tacoma for a state regional match-up against Puyallup Saturday. The Vikings, at 24-0, are ranked first in the State, but Somoza is just happy to get a chance. “It’s playoff baseball; you have to take advantage of every opportunity and in the end we did. We’re going to State.” Game time is 1 p.m.

Redmond 0 0 0 0 0 2 0- 2 8 3
E-Woodway 0 0 0 0 1 0 2- 3 9 3

WP: Jones
LP: Mincon

Records: E-W 17-8, Redmond 18-7

– By Jeff Smarr

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