Meadowdale didn’t leave anything to chance Tuesday at the 3A District 1 softball tournament.
The Mavericks opened with a 9-6 victory over Arlington and then dominated Marysville-Pilchuck 13-3 in the semifinals to earn their fourth straight trip to the state tournament.
Meadowdale plays Everett at 6 p.m., Thursday, May 21, in the district championship game at Phil Johnson Ballfields in Everett.
A year ago, the Mavericks had to battle through the losers’ bracket and beat Mountlake Terrace for the third and final district berth to state.
Those memories don’t necessarily go away, according to Meadowdale coach Dennis Hopkins.
“They kind of sit in the back of your head for a long time,” he said. “They (players) pretty much didn’t want to repeat having to come back and play their way into state.
“They were pumped to get back here, realizing that you’ve got to win today and you’re guaranteed state. That was kind of the goal when we left home today.”
In the semifinals, Meadowdale (20-2) scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning and then added four in the second, three in the third and one in the fifth, a home run by Julia Reuble that ended the contest due to the 10-run mercy rule. Also hitting home runs were Hailey Costello (a two-run shot in the second inning) and Haili Taylor (a two-run shot in the second inning). The Mavericks have smacked 43 round trippers this season.
“They kind of like the long ball,” Hopkins said. “That’s just what they do. They get up there and try to hit somebody around and all of sudden they take it and it’s out of the park.”
Hopkins sensed a confidence with Mavericks coming into the tournament.
“We do our thing. We know we’re capable of doing everything and anything that we put our minds to,” said Taylor, who was 3-for-4 with 5 RBI.
Samantha Gregoryk pitched all five innings against the Tomahawks and picked up the save against Arlington.
“She was pretty dominant on the mound,” Hopkins said.
Everett handed Meadowdale one of its only two losses this year, beating the Mavericks 6-5. The lead changed five times during the April matchup.
Taylor wasn’t concerned who Meadowdale’s opponent was going to be in the district finals.
“Knowing how we play, we just take every team and just go do out thing,” Taylor said.
This will be the fourth straight year at the state tournament for seniors Costello, Taylor and Ciarra Hart.
It’s an achievement that Hopkins admits is amazing.
“That’s tough in any sport, to get four trips to state in a row,” he said.
– By David Pan