Monroe blanks Arlington on the diamond

Leadoff hitter Austin Baker went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk. His was one of four Eagles hits against Monroe. - Travis Sherer
Leadoff hitter Austin Baker went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk. His was one of four Eagles hits against Monroe.
— image credit: Travis Sherer

ARLINGTON — The Eagles’ pitching kept them in a winable game, they just weren’t able to bring home any runs.

Monroe provided most of the highlights in a 4-0 shutout of Arlington on May 23, putting the Eagles in a position where they need wins fast to earn the right to keep playing.

“Today was not a good day,” said Arlington manager Erik Heinz. “We didn’t swing the bat very well and had some mistakes in the field.”

Arlington’s first mistake came in the second inning on what would become the game-winning run. With two outs, a pickoff throw to second went into centerfield, allowing a runner on third to score, making the score 1-0.

Arlington had it’s chances, however, with the best coming in the fourth inning with runners on first and second with just one out. But Monroe pitcher Kyle Hopkins got out of the jam and finished the game to pick up the win.

Arlington went with a more ensemble approach to the game, throwing four pitchers, but started he game with Carson Zednick, who was relived in the third by Marcus McKenzie for two innings. Then, in the fifth, with the Bearcats already scoring a pair of runs, Heinz brought in lefty Austin Taylor, who promptly shut them down.

“Austin has been a great presence for us,” Heinz said. “He’s the kind of kid that just knows how to pitch.”

That tandem, along with senior Justin Serber, has helped the Eagles to a 5-9 record in the Wesco North.

“We have a really good set of four pitchers,” he said. “You saw three of them today, but we have to start getting outs and runs when we need them. We’ve done a great job of battling to stay with teams, but we have to take one more step.”

The Eagles’ last three losses were by one run and they now have to overtake Cascade (5-7) for the fifth spot, which comes with the district play-in game.

A bright spot for the Eagles offensively has been centerfielder Austin Baker, who has flourished since taking over the leadoff spot almost a month ago.

“He just puts the bat on the ball and hits it hard,” Heinz said. “He’s been following our team’s approach of jumping on guys early in the count. He doesn’t wait and swings at quality pitches.”

Baker was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk.

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