E-W captures district thriller, advances to state | Baseball

Mitchell’s walk-off double lifts Warriors past Snohomish 4-3
By David Pan | May 11, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Edmonds-Woodway’s Nick Hull swings at a pitch during a district playoff game against Stanwood Saturday, May 6 at Edmonds-Woodway High School.

The situation was tailor-made for Brandon Mitchell.

Edmonds-Woodway and Snohomish were tied at 3 in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Warriors had the winning run on second base with two outs when Mitchell stepped to the plate.

With a full count, Mitchell delivered the biggest hit of the season so far, doubling to center field to drive in the winning run, as the Warriors edged the Panthers 4-3 in a winner-to-state District 1 baseball semifinal game Tuesday, May 9, at Meridian Park in Shoreline.

Mitchell stayed alive by fouling off a couple of pitches that weren’t to his liking.  Then he connected on the pitch he was waiting for.

“The last ball was a fast ball -- middle belt high,” said Mitchell, who hit a three-run home run against Snohomish that clinched the league title for the Warriors. “It was in a good spot for me.”

Mitchell said that he tried to relax at the plate.

“I try not to think of putting any pressure on myself,” he said. “I just hit how I would in normal BP (batting practice). Just relax because when I’m relaxed, that’s when I hit my best.”

Kosta Cooper and Julian Kodama drew consecutive walks with two outs to set the stage for Mitchell’s game-winning at-bat.

Edmonds-Woodway coach Dan Somoza admitted he was glad to see Mitchell step to the plate with the game hanging in the balance.

“I wish Brandon could come up nine times,” Somoza said. “He comes up and you always believe you have a chance to get a hit and that’s a great feeling to have as a team and as a coach, especially.”

Edmonds-Woodway (16-6 overall) faces Shorewood (17-5) in the district championship game at 4 p.m., Saturday, May 13 at Meridian Park. The Thunderbirds swept the regular season series with the Warriors, the only team to accomplish that feat against Edmonds-Woodway this year. The series was the final one of the regular season and the Warriors already had clinched the league title and the top seed to districts.

Edmonds-Woodway opened district play with an 8-6 victory over Stanwood Saturday, May 6, at Edmonds-Woodway High School. Senior Nick Hull was 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI.

Snohomish took a 1-0 lead in the fourth, on an RBI walk after three earlier walks loaded the bases.

Edmonds-Woodway then responded with three runs in the fifth. Kodama’s double to right field drove in Ian Michael, who led off the inning with a single. Mitchell singled to drive in Kodama and Garrison Krohn followed with a double to bring home Mitchell.

The Panthers tied the score at 3 in the sixth when the Warriors again lost control on the mound. A hit batter and two walks loaded the bases and another walk brought home Snohomish’s second run of the contest. Another hit batter enabled the Panthers to tie the score at 3.

Kodama then was brought in to pitch with the bases loaded and no outs. He forced a pop up to the catcher for the first out and recorded the second out on a grounder that shortstop Mitchell scooped up and threw to home for the force out.

A pitch that got past catcher Krohn resulted in a wild series of throws that eventually resulted in the runner at third base being thrown out at home plate by Mitchell.

The loose ball tempted the Snohomish runner at third base to make a break for home, but he hesitated. The runner at second base, however, was well on his way to third base when he hastily retreated back to second base, drawing a throw from catcher Krohn. Mitchell caught the ball and fired to home, as the runner at third base broke for home. The Snohomish runner was tagged out at home to end the inning.

“It was good that everyone stayed calm because that’s not something you see every game,” Mitchell said.

Somoza was impressed by Kodama’s poise on the mound.

“The thing is Julian didn’t even have time to warm up,” Somoza said. “Julian came in and threw strikes. He dominated from there on. Bases loaded, no outs. He gave up no runs. … For him to step up like that – no warm-up, come in from second base – that shows a lot of moxie.”

Edmonds-Woodway center fielder Ian Michael made the defensive play of the game in the ninth with a runner on third base and two outs. Snohomish’s Logan Gates hit a low line drive to left center field that Michael, running at full speed, dove and caught to end the inning and prevent Snohomish from scoring the go-ahead run.

Mitchell appreciates that every player on the squad has a role.

“It’s really exciting to watch this team because everyone contributes,” he said.

Edmonds-Woodway’s goal every year is to advance to state, Somoza said.

“We’ve accomplished that,” he said. “So now it’s on to the next goal, which is to play a great game in districts and then state starts. Once you get to state, anything can happen. I’m real excited about our chances.”

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