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Ladines leads Eagles to two victories at district tournament
MONROE — Arlington softball pitcher Veronica Ladines struck out back-to-back batters in the seventh inning to cap off a 1-0 victory over the Cascade Bruins in a loser-out 4A District 1 playoff game Thursday, May 19, played at Sky River Park.
Nearly two hours earlier, she scored the game-winning run in the seventh inning, as the Eagles defeated Monroe 2-1 in the first of the two loser-out games.
“Overall this tournament has been terrific,” first-year coach Lonnie Hicks said. “Our bats were pretty light today, but the kids have battled all year long and I am so, so proud of them. They have really played their hearts out.”
After defeating Kamiak in the first round on May 17, the Eagles lost to Jackson later that day, which sent them spiraling into what is proving to be a brutal consolation bracket.
“I have to take my hat off to our kids,” Hicks said. “You could see some stress in them today but they got past it and they are starting to believe in themselves again. They are starting to put it together again and are excited for what’s next.”
The Eagles will play for the third and final state berth against an undetermined Kingco team on Saturday, May 21.
In their victory over Cascade, senior Linzey Burns picked up an RBI after hitting a bases-loaded single to right field to score Kalie Basher in the fourth inning to score what proved to be the Eagles’ winning-run.
Pitcher Haley Fields surrendered just three hits in 5 1/3 innings to earn the victory over Cascade. Ladines struck out three while picking up the save.
Arlington, which outhit the Bruins, 8-3, fought off two Cascade threats. With the bases loaded, Ladines struck out Cascade freshman Makinlee Sellevold to end the sixth inning. In the fifth inning, Fields forced Cascade’s Alex Deaver to ground out, stranding Chloe McIntosh at third base.
“Today we had runners in scoring positions a few times,” Hicks said, “and our kids tightened up their belts and didn’t let anything happen. We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing and not worry about what our opponents are doing.”
In game one, Monroe’s Devan Larsen hit a first-inning home run over the left field fence to give the Bearcats a 1-0 lead. Arlington’s Fields answered in the fifth inning with a home run over the right field fence to tie the score.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Ladines scored from second base after Monroe pitcher Devan Larsen threw a wild throw to first base following a bunt by Eagles’ Torrey Harrington.
Fields, in relief of Ladines, recorded the first of her two wins. Starter Ladines struck out six Monroe batters in four innings of work.
“We’ve got one more game and we earn a trip to state,” Hicks said. “And I know these kids are going to be up to it. They have been working hard for our seniors and we are going to do everything we can to get them there.