Sports

Sixers pound Burlington 10-2

Shortstop Kekoa Riggen grabs a long throw from catcher Dustin Ward to keep a Burlington baserunner at second. At Wally Evans Field Burlington 1 0 0 0 1 x x 2 Arlington 2 0  2  5  1  x  x  10 -
Shortstop Kekoa Riggen grabs a long throw from catcher Dustin Ward to keep a Burlington baserunner at second. At Wally Evans Field Burlington 1 0 0 0 1 x x 2 Arlington 2 0 2 5 1 x x 10
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ARLINGTON Five innings were all it took for the Arlington 76ers to defeat Burlington and remain eligible to place in the Wally Evans Tournament over the holiday weekend.

With solid defense and some heavy lifting at the plate, Arlington eight-runned Burlington for a 10-2 victory. Burlington scored a run in the first inning but by their next go round, Arlington already had the game-tying run thanks to three big hits within the top of the order.

Tyler Wendland started the Sixers off with a double, a feat replicated one out later by Kekoa Riggen and DH Thane Street, who earned RBIs in the effort.

The Sixer defense shut down Burlington for the next three innings, led by pitcher Jeff Huge who struck out five in a complete game. Meanwhile, the offense added to its tally with Ben Larson singling in the third inning and batted in on a two-run homer from Street. But the possibility of an abbreviated game became more of a probability in a blockbuster fourth inning in which Larson helped Arlington pull away to an 8-1 lead with a three-run homer. With an RBI from Chris Wendland to follow, Arlington needed only to shut out Burlington in the top of the fifth to avoid batting again.

It was not to be, as one batter found home. Nonetheless, Arlington averted further difficulty by stranding three runners on base. Burlington walked Tyler Wendland in the bottom of the inning, setting up the RBI double by Larson that brought the game to an abrupt end.

Riggen, who had two doubles in three at-bats, said that the high caliber teams the Sixers have faced in the tournament haven't adversely affected their ability at the plate.

"The competition is pretty good," he said. "There's some good pitchers on some of the teams we're playing. But our bats are coming around."

That phrase was echoed by coach Scott Striegel, who described the Sixers batting plan as more about hitting strategically than explosively even though half the team's offense in the game happened to come from home runs.

"We look for the fastball and go for it," he said.

With the win, Arlington accumulated a 2-2 record in the tournament through July 5 with the opportunity for a consolation game hinging on a game the next morning after the Globe/Times went to press.

The Sixers lost a heartbreaking game in extra innings to Marysville 11-10 in the opener of a rain-shortened tournament schedule. They followed it with a 6-0 win over Legion ball rival Bellingham, who has the league's best record. In the third game, Arlington found itself on the wrong side of a 6-2 match earlier in the day against Everett.

Whether they play for consolation or not, Striegel said he's happy with the way his team has played through the tournament, a level of play he hopes to carry into their next tournament in Yakima a week later.

"We're playing our best baseball right now," he said.

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