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Early shutouts build Eagles confidence
ARLINGTON The Mountlake Terrace Hawks got on base a few times and one runner even threatened to score from third in the second inning. Maybe it was the menacing looks from Eagles catcher Sheena Twitchell whenever she had the ball or the 16 strikeouts from pitcher Christina Rayner, but the Arlington fastpitch team rendered the Hawks runless for a 3-0 win March 14.
After a challenging jamboree the previous weekend in which several players, including Twitchell, were sidelined because of too few practices to play, Arlington fans had the opportunity to see the Eagles entire starting rotation for the first time this season.
The Eagles got a couple good looks at the Hawks pitching game early on, with junior Stephanie McDowell and senior Sheena Twitchell making contact with the ball in the first inning, but it wasnt until Kate Nicely hit a single into center field that the Eagles got on base. Quickly joined on base by teammate Bryanne Burns, the duo were batted in by a single from sophomore Kristen Allen, putting Arlington up 2-0.
The Eagles would not manage to score another run until the sixth inning, but they would not need to, holding Mountlake Terrace to two base hits in their remaining four innings on the strength of nine strikeouts from Rayner in that time.
Arlington coach Dan Eng said he was happy with the teams play, which was firing on all cylinders.
The pitcher is where it starts. Defense is second, offense is third, Eng said. I had a wonderful performance from my pitcher, Christina Rayner 16 strikeouts, no walks.
The pitching on both sides of the ball gave Arlington an emotional boost as the Eagles started to make contact at the plate and Mountlake Terrace continued to struggle.
I guess we just got really used to the pitching and things came alive, Allen explained after the game. I dont think we gave up in any count, even if we were 0-2 in the count. We didnt go after bad pitches.
Eng added that the Hawks were overmatched because they could not figure out Rayners pitching.
At Arlington H.S.
Arlington 0 0 2 0 0 1 - 3
Mtlk Terrace 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
The Eagles won again, 9-0, when they traveled to Mariner High School March 16. Eng was cautious about being overly optimistic while Arlington remained in its non-conference schedule.
When asked if he was happy with the Eagles wins, Eng attributed the teams early success to luck.
We are progressing right along. Theyve got a lot more to learn. We start playing our conference schedule this Thursday (March 22) with Oak Harbor. Starting with conference will be the test, because Wesco North has become the power of the two Wescos, he said.
Starting the conference schedule will be the real test, he added, Well just play them as we see them. Hopefully any strategy I come up with holds together for seven innings.