In the 2015 regular season finale for both clubs, Meadowdale came from behind to defeat Mountlake Terrace 4-3 Wednesday to finish 11-7 in the Wesco 3A South and qualify for the District 1 3A Baseball Tournament that begins on Saturday, May 9.
By finishing third in the Wesco 3A South, the Mavericks earned the No. 6 seed and will travel to Oak Harbor to face the Wildcats at 1 p.m.
Mountlake Terrace (9-9 in Wesco 3A, 10-10 overall) can still slide into the double-elimination tourney as the No. 8 seed, but only if the Hawks defeat Marysville-Getchell in a tournament play-in game set for Thursday, May 7, at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Early in Wednesday’s game it looked as though Mountlake Terrace might grab the victory and the No. 6 tournament seed as the Hawks led 3-1 after three innings. But the Mavericks tied the clash at 3-3 off a Dakota Barlament two-run single in the fifth inning; Meadowdale then scored the go-ahead run when senior Kenley Ackerman laced a single in the bottom of the seventh, bringing home Haelin Roberts for the victory.
After the game-winning hit, Ackerman’s teammates stormed the field and dogpiled on the senior in celebration.
With the game on the line, Ackerman was confident he could come through for his squad. “It was a fastball,” Ackerman said of the pitch he lined into the outfield for the winning RBI; “That’s what I was looking for. I knew I had it. I was confident up there and jumped all over it.”
Meadowdale Coach Bill Hummel also was assured his team could get the win in the final inning against Mountlake Terrace. “We had 3, 4, 5 (batters in the lineup) coming up and you expect those guys to be able to accomplish something at the plate,” he said.
Hummel wasn’t totally surprised that it was Ackerman, a four-year varsity letterman who went 2-for-3 in Wednesday’s game, who ultimately had the final say in the team’s comeback victory. “You like having a senior in the position, just a guy who’s made the winning free throw before and isn’t concerned about being in a clutch situation,” he said. “And he delivered for us.”
While Ackerman’s bat pounded out the final hit, it was Roberts’ baserunning that enabled the Mavericks to put the final run on the scoreboard. The sophomore entered the game as a pinch-runner for teammate Parker Coffey, who had gotten to first base off an infield single to start Meadowdale’s half of the seventh inning. Roberts’ scored the winning run from second base, just eluding a tag at the plate by Hawk catcher Nolan Takeya.
“Haelin is a terrific baserunner,” Hummel said. “We were going to send that guy come hell or high water. And Haelin makes a great slide.”
Mountlake Terrace’s Raiden Silva took the loss in relief for the Hawks, but coach Andrew Watters didn’t put the blame for the defeat on his pitcher. “Raiden made a good pitch to the batter that led off (the seventh inning) and got on; they got lucky and hit one off the dirt that went over his head,” he said. “That just happens in baseball and you just have to go through it and hope it goes your way the next go-around.”
“Our pitchers did great today,” Watters added. “Ben Reijonen (the Hawk’s starter) has been awesome all year; Silva did a great job coming in and getting us out of the fifth (inning) and having a great sixth to keep us in it at the time, to keep us tied up so that we had our chance to win.”
The Mountlake Terrace defense contributed to keeping them in the game also. After Meadowdale loaded the bases for the second time in the fifth inning, Hawk Jared Maxfield made a diving catch of a sinking liner in right field to save at least two runs and end the inning.
“Jared is a sophomore and he’s getting better and better,” Watters said. “He’s had a great year and I think he has a whole lot of upside. And he seems to have the knack to step up for the big moments too, which is really exciting as a coach to get players like that. That’s one of the best catches I’ve seen in a long time, as far as the timing of it. That saved the game for us at that moment.”
Maxfield also led the Hawk offense by going 3-for-3 with an RBI double in the losing cause.
After scoring single runs in each of the first three innings, Mountlake Terrace’s chances for victory became limited in the later innings due mostly to the pitching of Maverick Garrett Walsh. The senior starter went the distance and struck out seven Hawks without giving up a walk to earn the win.
“He’s really, really competitive, Hummel said of Walsh. “He’s had a terrific athletic career here – absolutely terrific football career, played basketball for a little while, and by just hard work has turned himself into a quality pitcher in our league. He finishes the year 5-0 with wins over everybody in our league except Lynnwood where he got a no-decision. He’s a solid, solid No. 2 starter for us.”
Watters was also impressed with the Meadowdale starter on Wednesday. “He got in a rhythm there about halfway through the game,” he said. “I think that we had some at-bats that we’d like to have back where we helped them out a little bit. But give him credit; he stuck with the game, gave up some runs early in the game when we had our lead, but he kept them in the game and gave them an opportunity to do it. You have to tip your hat to him for the complete effort on his part.”
After the season-ending two-game series that Meadowdale swept, both the Mavericks and the Hawks now turn their attention to post-season play, a prospect that has Hummel intrigued.
“The idea of the district tournament is just to get in,” he said. “Once you get into that tournament, nobody knows what can happen.”
– By Doug Petrowski
Prep Baseball: Mountlake Terrace at Meadowdale
Mountlake Terrace 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 — 3 9 3
Meadowdale 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 — 4 6 2
Winning pitcher: Garrett Walsh (Meadowdale)
Losing pitcher: Raiden Silva (MTHS)
Records: Mountlake Terrace 8-8 in Wesco 3A South, 10-10 overall; Meadowdale 11-7, 12-8
Mountlake Terrace next game: vs. Marysville-Getchell, Thursday, May 7, 4 p.m. at Marysville-Pilchuck High School (District 1 3A Baseball Tournament play-in game, loser out)
Meadowdale next game: vs. Oak Harbor, Saturday, May 9, 1 p.m. at Oak Harbor High School (First round of the District 1 3A Baseball Tournament)