By Doug Petrowski
Going into her team’s 3A District 1 Softball Tournament games on Tuesday, May 14, Mountlake Terrace head coach Shannon Rasmussen has a plan for victory: grabbing early leads and building team confidence.
The Hawks begin their quest for a spot in the WIAA 3A State Tournament later this month with a 4 p.m. match-up Tuesday against the Marysville-Pilchuck Tomahawks at Phil Johnson Fields in Everett. Win or lose, Terrace will play a second game against an opponent to be determined approximately 15 minutes following the completion of the first game. In the double-elimination tournament, two losses on Tuesday would end the Hawks’ 2013 season.
In their opening game, the Hawks face the only team from the North Division that enters the district tournament with a winning record. Marysville-Pilchuck finished the regular season 12-8, and is 1-1 against Terrace. In the two MTHS-MPHS match-ups, the team that built an early lead went on to victory, a fact not lost on Rasmussen.
The Hawks fell behind the Tomahawks early in their first meeting on March 14 and never recovered, losing 12-5. “We battled back, we got a couple runs, but it was a big downer for us,” Rasmussen said of the defeat. In the rematch on April 26, Terrace turned it around and picked up a 5-2 win.
“Our last time we played them, we were able to jump out and get a couple of runs early and get the lead in the second inning. That gave the girls some confidence,” Rasmussen explained. “Especially against Marysville it’s going to be a huge thing for us to come out and pounce right on their pitcher.”
The Terrace coach sees Marysville-Pilchuck as one of the contenders for the three berths to the state tourney coming out of districts.
“The way I look at it, unless a team comes out and makes a big Cinderella story, we’ve got probably five teams battling for three spots,” Rasmussen proclaimed. “Hopefully, we can get one.”
Top seed from the Wesco South, Meadowdale, is seen as one of the top teams in the state with a 17-2 overall record. Shorecrest, a possible game two match-up for the Hawks, is 15-5 and one of the District 1 favorites. If Meadowdale and Shorecrest finish 1-2 as some predict, that leaves Marysville-Pilchuck, Ferndale (13-7), Glacier Peak (12-8), Terrace (11-9) and two teams with losing records — Everett and Oak Harbor — battling for the final berth to state.
It will be a tall order for the Hawks to finish the district tourney in the top three. Terrace lost three of their final four regular season games; all three losses were against district tournament teams. Terrace’s record against all seven teams at districts this season was 3-7, and 0-2 against each of their South Division foes Meadowdale, Shorecrest and Glacier Peak.
Both of Tuesday’s games will be broadcast live on the Hawks Sports Network via MLTnews.com. You can see a complete bracket of the 3A District 1 Softball Tournament here.