Edmonds-Woodway had three outs left. Three outs and its season was over. Three outs and a second straight year would finish without a berth in the regional round of the state tournament.
The Warriors didn’t need three outs.
Redmond led 2-1 heading to the bottom of the seventh in a winner-to-state, loser-out game Monday. But Mustangs starter Brendan Ecklebarger hit Joey Rees to lead off the frame and was replaced by Milo Mincin. That’s when the Warriors finally found some consistent offense.
Two singles and a strikeout followed the pitching change, the latter of the base hit being an RBI drive to bring in the tying run. With the game locked at 2-2, Edmonds-Woodway turned to junior Brett Stoneman as a pinch-hitter. Stoneman delivered with a game-winning RBI double, setting off a wild celebration behind the bag at second base.
“It was a huge game for us, getting back to state after not being able to be there last year,” catcher Tate Budnick said of the 3-2 win. “Everybody was just so jacked up and so excited for Stoneman because he just came up huge for us.”
Budnick knows how tough it is to come off the bench after not playing an entire game and trying to come up with a big hit. It’s not easy, he readily admitted. A couple practice swings is generally all a pinch-hitter gets before stepping into the box.
Stoneman was able to get the job done, though, which means Edmonds-Woodway advances to face Puyallup at Heidelberg Park in Tacoma at 1 pm on Saturday. The Vikings won’t be easy to advance past, considering they’re ranked No. 4 nationally by MaxPreps.
Of course, don’t count out Edmonds-Woodway.
“I definitely think our team mascot is what we are — we’re Warriors,” Budnick said. “At the start of the year, I hate to say this, but we were not a good team at the start of the year. And then something just clicked for us … and we went on a tear. We step on the field and we want to win a baseball game. That’s our mindset. We want to win.”
Here are the schedules for the 4A and 3A state playoff games this weekend. The winners of the first games at the same site play each other the same day for a berth in the final four.
Lake Stevens vs. South Kitsap at 10 am at Art Wright Field
Kentridge vs. Eastlake at 1 pm at Art Wright Field
Wenatchee vs. Lewis and Clark at 10 am at Yakima County Stadium
Union vs. Moses Lake at 1 pm at Yakima County Stadium
Battle Ground vs. Gonzaga Prep at 10 am at Heidelberg Park
Edmonds-Woodway vs. Puyallup at 1 pm at Heidelberg Park
Woodinville vs. Beamer at 10 am at Everett Memorial Stadium
Gig Harbor vs. Cascade at 1 pm at Everett Memorial Stadium
Mountlake Terrace vs. Columbia River at 10 am at Bannerwood Park
North Thurston vs. O’Dea at 1 pm at Bannerwood Park
Hanford vs. Mt. Spokane at 10 am at Richland High School
Lakeside vs. Kennewick at 1 pm at Richland High School
Shorewood vs. Mt. Si at 10 am at Wheeler Field
Bainbridge vs. Timberline at 1 pm at Wheeler Field
West Seattle vs. Shelton at 10 am at Dream Field
Bonney Lake vs. Glacier Peak at 1 pm at Dream Field
As always, the weekly poll, courtesy of Lem Elway.