With the 2023 regular season coming to a close this week, the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors left no doubt Tuesday that they will be a team to contend with as the squad steamrolls toward the postseason.
Showcasing their superb pitching and lightning speed on the base paths, the Warriors crushed the rival Meadowdale Mavericks 9-0 on Tuesday to capture the Wesco League 3A South with a league mark of 12-1 this year.
“We have several goals and we just accomplished our first and I’m very proud of this team,” said E-W Coach Dan Somoza.
With Tuesday’s home victory, the Warriors improved their overall record to 15-5 and solidified their position as a likely top-two squad in the upcoming District 1 3A tournament that gets underway next week.
E-W got the job done against the Mavericks with a big fourth inning, sending 11 batters to the plate and tallying seven runs in the frame. Drew Warner, Dylan Schlenger and Thomas Shults all singled in the inning for the Warriors, who also took advantage of three wild pitches by Meadowdale starting pitcher Kealoha Kepoo-Sabate and a pair of throwing errors by Mavs’ shortstop Nic Zardis to advance base runners, extend the inning and push seven across the plate.
The Warriors added a pair of runs in the sixth inning with an RBI single by Cruz Escandon and an RBI double by Thomas Shults to complete the rout.
Schlenger pitched a complete game, four-hit shutout and struck out six to earn the win for E-W. The right-hander now has six shutouts in his nine starts this season and lowered his ERA to 0.10 for the year with Tuesday’s effort.
Schlenger was all smiles following the game as he contemplated not just Tuesday’s win but the regular-season division championship earned by his team during this, his senior year. “I’m feeling great,” he said. “We have a great group of guys, great coaches and it’s been everything I could ask for (my) last year.”
Schlenger is one of four seniors on the E-W squad this season, a group that includes Warner, Jens Simonson and Grant Oliver. Somoza gives the four a lot of credit for the success the team has enjoyed this year.
“We have a really young team,” Somoza explained. “We have seven or eight freshmen, like three sophomores; we have some really good juniors but these four seniors have been outstanding leaders. It’s been fun to watch them help the young kids. And they’re just great humans and ballplayers. I’ve had them for four years now and it’s just fun to see them grow up and be the young men that they’re becoming.
“I’ve been doing this for a while and (senior leadership) is everything,” he continued. “They are the anchor of the team — and that’s what solidified our team. Everyone can find their roles around that. They’ve done an outstanding job. And all four of them have had great years.”
Warner and Oliver are among the team leaders in batting with averages of .345 and .340 respectively; Simonsen, the squad’s regular first baseman, has a fielding percentage of .991 and picked up his seventh stolen base of the season on Tuesday.
The Warriors and Mavericks were set to square off one more time on Thursday, April 27, to close out the 2023 regular season. And even though E-W has the 3A South regular season title clinched, Somoza said his squad will still go all out in the season finale due to a tight race between E-W, Snohomish and Mount Vernon for the number-one seed in the upcoming District 1 tournament.
“We’ve got to come out and compete on Thursday if we want that higher seed.” Somoza noted.
No matter what district tourney seed his team ends up with, Schlenger knows what he will be shooting for to cap off his senior year with the Warriors: “Win Districts, win State and go off on a good note,” he said.
Prep Baseball: Meadowdale at Edmonds-Woodway, April 25
Meadowdale 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 4 2
Edmonds-Woodway 0 0 0 0 0 0 x – 9 7 0
Winning pitcher: Dylan Schlenger (Edmonds-Woodway)
Losing pitcher: Kealoha Kepoo-Sabate (Meadowdale)
— By Doug Petrowski