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Lady Eagles game decided by rule book
ARLINGTON A hard-fought, closely-contested March 29 game between the Arlington Eagles and Everett Seagulls fastpitch teams ended in confusing fashion. Everett plated the winning run in the top half of the seventh inning to squeeze out a 2-1 victory.
Arlingtons pitcher Christina Rayner struggled in the first inning, conceding a lead off double and a one-out triple to drive in the runner. After falling behind 1-0, she settled down and found a groove, not allowing any Everett batters to even reach third base until the top half of the seventh inning.
On offense, Arlington scratched out a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to knot the score. A lead off double by Bryanne Burns followed by a single from Kaitlyn McAlister tied the game.
After a strikeout, Everett put two runners on base when Kristin Wright singled. With runners at the corners and only one out, Arlington looked to be in good shape. Kristen Allen hit a deep fly ball to centerfield, one which should have easily scored the runner from third base. But McAlister stumbled in tagging up and by the time she recovered she had no chance to race home in time. McAlister returned to third base, but worse, Wright started running from first at the crack of the bat believing there were two outs. By the time she realized her error, shed nearly passed the shortstop along the basepaths. As McAlister raced around second base in retreat, Everetts team realized what had happened and lobbed the ball to first base, ending the Arlington threat.
In the seventh things got even stranger. Rayner walked the Everett leadoff batter to begin the inning. Their second batter attempted a sacrifice bunt and trampled the Arlington catcher Sheena Twitchell who, instead of having a force out at second, could only manage a throw to first. The umpire ruled no interference and Everetts next batter single to drive in the run. That would do it for the scoring for Everett, as Rayner again buckled down and retired the side. Unfortunately the damage was done.
The bottom half of the seventh produced another strange ruling as Bryanne Burns singled to right field, giving Arlington hopes of a comeback. She was replaced by pinch-runner Piper Lycke who stole second on a tipped pitch that was caught by the catcher. Out stormed Everetts coach to argue the play and the umpires conferred with each other. Instead of awarding Lycke second base, they ruled the play dead from the tip even though the ball went straight into the catchers mitt, no drop. Arlingtons threat was quashed and the final two batters struck out to end the game. Afterwards, Coach Danny Eng was gracious in defeat.
I dont believe there was interference on the play in the top half. It was a legal play. As for the bottom half of the seventh, according to the rule book the umpire ruled the play dead and a runner cannot advance.
Even with the loss, Eng maintained the team is making progress.
Everett won district last year and we are going to use this game as a stepping stone of our rebuilding.
Arlington plays again April 13 against Marysville-Pilchuck.