ARLINGTON — The Eagles’ baseball team hosted the Lake Stevens Vikings on Wednesday, April 3, and came back from nearly a five-inning mercy rule to score one run before the end of the game.
The Vikings have one of the best pitchers in the Western Conference, Brandon Kelliher, and his strength turned into a weakness for the Eagles, who managed one run in the fifth inning, after Lake Stevens scored 10 innings up to the top of the fifth.
“We had a couple errors in and we had too many walks,” said head coach Scott Streigel. “The couple errors were in unfortunate times that prolonged innings and gave them runs. They have a very good pitcher on the mound, probably the best in the league, and he was getting ahead of hitters and tossing strikes, so that did not help us.”
The Vikings had shut out the Eagles through to the top of the fifth inning, and with two outs, Eagles fans were prepared to see the end of the game brought out by the mercy rule for high school ball — that a 10 run lead by the fifth inning would end the game. But the Eagles weren’t ready to go down without a fight.
“We just talked about continuing to compete and continuing to battle and just having one good at-bat after another,” said Streigel.
The Eagles have three returning starters and eight returning varsity players, including five seniors.
“Last year we played three games in districts,” said Streigel. “Our win in districts was the first time in at least 18 years. Definitely, we have new goals of going further this year. We have a pretty strong pitching staff, so we think that can take us a little further this year.”
Junior Ryan Walker, senior Garret Atkinson and junior Tristan Jager are currently pitching for the Eagles. On the offensive side of the game, Walker has been successful, along with several other players.
“Ryan [Walker] has been swinging a really hot bat,” said Streigel. “Isaiah Vaughn, another senior, has had a very good year at the plate so far, and Tristan Jager has been swinging it better recently.”
With a shift in division competitors, the Eagles are adjusting to new opponents.
“It has made things a little different. In the past we have played each team three times, and now we play them twice, and then twice later on in the season,” said Streigel. “Everyone in our league has pretty good pitchers and 4A is pretty tough. So no matter who you are facing, you know you are going to be competing against a pretty good team.”
The Eagles have a good amount of leadership on the team to help draw out a successful season.
“Matt Reed is a senior and has really stepped up,” said Streigel. “He is one of our bigger leaders, as well as Ryan Walker. Matt is our vocal leader, where as Ryan is a quiet leader — he leads by action a little more.”
Arlington has a record of 5-3 overall and 4-2 in league.