After losing a late 3-0 lead by giving up five runs in the sixth inning, the Mountlake Terrace Hawks looked to be on their way to their first loss in the District 1 3A Baseball Tournament on Tuesday.
But Rominic Quiban and his Hawk teammates came back and stole — literally — the victory right out of the hands of the Shorewood Stormrays, earning a 6-5 win in a District 1 tourney semifinal game played Tuesday at Everett’s Funko Field.
Trailing 5-3, Terrace scored three runs in the top of the seventh with the winning run coming off a dramatic Quiban steal of home plate. The senior took advantage of an inattentive Stormray battery, darted from third base to home after a soft toss from the catcher back to the pitcher and slid across the plate on his stomach untouched.
Quiban had reached second base earlied in the inning after a two-base error by the Shorewood first baseman that also allowed two Terrace runs to score. With the score tied 5-5, Quiban then advanced to third on a wild pitch to set up the heroic steal of home.
When on third base, Quiban said he and Coach Ryan Sells — serving as third base coach — noticed that both the Shorewood catcher and pitcher weren’t looking in their direction at all. “When the pitcher got the ball back he was keeping his head down,” Quiban said. “So me and Coach kind of came to a consensus about that — and then as soon as I saw the right (time) to go, I did it.”
The steal attempt came so unexpectedly that Stormrays’ pitcher Jacob Lindberg didn’t react or even try to throw the ball to home for a possible tag on the sliding Quiban.
Sells explained that Quiban’s steal of home wasn’t a play that is practiced or prepared for but instead came simply because of keen observation of the circumstances.
“It’s something we don’t work on, it’s just something that we saw and, you know what, we took advantage of it,” Sells said.
Now with a 6-5 lead, the Hawks’ defense stood strong and held Shorewood scoreless in the bottom of the seventh. After the final out of the frame was recorded, the Terrace players and coaches in the dugout rushed the field and the team celebrated the victory.
Mountlake Terrace’s wild win came after the team had built up a three-run lead with a pair of unearned runs in the first inning and a run in the fourth via an RBI single off the bat of Griffin Potter. But a disastrous sixth inning almost sunk the Hawks.
Shorewood sent 10 batters to the plate in the sixth and scored five times, the big blow being a three-run double to right field by Noah Fahey.
Sells liked the way his squad responded after giving up the lead in the sixth. “I think what it came down to is us just believing in Terrace baseball,” he said after the game. “We just got punched in the mouth in the bottom of the sixth — we never gave up, we never gave up hope. And you know, that’s why it’s a 6-5 ballgame at the end.”
“So I’m very, very happy, very proud of my guys and my coaching staff,” Sells added.
Tuesday’s victory was the fourth in a row this postseason for Terrace and another in a string of wins over teams seeded higher than them in the District 1 tournament – the Hawks are seeded No.9, Shorewood is the No.5 seed in the tourney.
“Seedings just a number, you know,” Quiban noted. “It’s just about how the team plays and how hard. Because I know we have the best heart; the team has the best heart in Wesco (League). We were able to get the job done and the rest is history.”
Terrace had previously defeated the No. 8 seed Shorecrest Scots and the No.1 seed Snohomish Panthers in the district tournament. The team had opened district tourney competition with a win over No.12 seed Marysville-Getchell.
After Tuesday’s victory, the Hawks have now guaranteed themselves a berth in the WIAA 3A State Baseball Tournament later this month and will play for the District 1 title on Saturday, May 13, against another higher-seeded squad, the No.2-seeded Edmonds-Woodway Warriors. First pitch at Funko Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Sells is excited to see his squad getting to continue their postseason run with a district tourney championship opportunity on Saturday and then a trip to state.
“It’s been a fun ride so far and I’m damn happy it ain’t going to be stopping anytime soon,” Sells said.
To view the entire DIstrict 1 3A Baseball Tournament bracket, click here.
Prep Baseball: Mountlake Terrace vs. Shorewood, May 9 (District 1 3A Baseball Tournament semifinal game)
Terrace 2 0 0 1 0 0 3 – 6 5 2
Shorewood 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 – 5 6 3
Winning pitcher: Robert Swan (Mountlake Terrace)
Losing pitcher: Jacob Lindberg (Shorewood)
Records: Mountlake Terrace 4-0 in District 1 tourney, 15-9 overall; Shorewood 1-1 in District 1 tourney, 15-8 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Edmonds-Woodway; Saturday, May 13; 1 p.m. at Everett Memorial Stadium (District 1 3A Baseball Tournament championship game — both winner and loser to state)
— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski