MOUNT VERNON — Starting with a first-inning run and continuing for the next six innings, Lynnwood slowly chipped away at Arlington, defeating the Eagles 5-1.
The loss eliminated Arlington from the district playoffs in a loser-out game at Skagit Valley College, May 6.
Sophomore pitcher Justin Surber, who had given Arlington its most recent win against Cascade, started on the mound. Arlington’s lone run in the loss came in the third inning when junior Kyle Ayres’ double was batted in on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Kekoa Riggen.
But even as the game slowly escaped them, the boys seemed relatively light-hearted.
“We just talked about keeping the pressure on,” explained Arlington coach Doug Plucker of the kids’ attitude. “We had some opportunities. That’s what playoff baseball is about, making plays in those situations.”
The game came on the tail of a 9-0 loss against the state-bound Wesco one-seed Meadowdale the day before at Mount Vernon’s Sherman Field.
The loss to Lynnwood marked the end of a season characterized by high expectations and mixed results. After going 2-1 in the early portion of their conference schedule, Arlington rose in the rankings of state’s best 3A schools. But the latter part of the season proved trying to a baseball team made up largely of juniors — there are just four seniors graduating from this team.
Plucker dismissed age as a factor in the boys’ season.
“If the seniors we had all contributed,” he said, “we are still a fairly young team. But age isn’t something I’d look at to explain a loss.”
With nine juniors and two sophomores eligible to return for next year’s team, Arlington can count on experience as one of its assets. But with their four graduating seniors, Arlington will lose experience as well. All four played against Lynnwood and contributed from their part of the field. Jake Allen started at second base, Greg Hollsworth in right field, sometime pitcher Caleb Scarth played left field and Cameron Hanson relieved at pitcher in the fifth inning.
“They’re a nice group of guys. They work hard and play hard,” Plucker said. “They haven’t found their confidence yet. And there’s no drill for that.”