EVERETT – Arlington has a hard-hitting baseball team. They love to smack line drives all over the field against power pitchers.
The only times they have struggled this year have been against off-speed pitchers. They just can’t get their timing down.
Finally, that weakness caught up to them Tuesday against Shorewood at Funko Field in Everett in a 3A District 1 semifinal game.
For the first time after 21 wins this year Arlington lost. Because of the 3-1 defeat, they play Meadowdale at home today at 4 p.m. The winner advances to state. The loser goes home. The Eagles have advanced to state four-straight years.
For only the fourth time this year, Arlington gave up more than 1 run. They outscored their opponents 163-18 on the season. But they couldn’t figure out lefty Kenji Miller, whose slow fastball and even slower curve ball and changeup kept them off-balance. He struck out seven, walked two and hit a batter, giving up just five hits in the seven innings.
On the other side, the Thunderbirds ripped Eagle ace Cameron Smith, who had only given up two runs and 10 hits all season.
In the first inning, after Smith walked two, Kevin Hirohata hit a high fly ball into deep right center that should have been the third out. But the Eagle outfielders lost it in the sun and it dropped in for a double. The damage could have been worse, but catcher Jack Sheward picked off a runner at first.
Arlington tied it in the bottom of the inning when Jack Sheward lined one to rightfield that sliced away from the diving Shorewood fielder and rolled to the fence. Sheward went all around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
In the second, Simon Shutts crushed one off the leftfield wall for a double and scored on a David Snell single up the middle. Eagle rightfielder Mike Tsoukalas ran a long way to make a catch near first base to minimize the damage.
In the third, Kaiden Graves smashed a double to right-center over the outfielders’ heads then scored on another hard grounder up the middle by Bryce Lindberg.
Shorewood threatened again in the fifth after another double to left. But Eagle centerfielder Owen Bishop threw the runner out at the plate after trying to score on a single. Later that inning, the T-birds loaded the bases, but a tough play by shortstop Paul Chung again kept them from scoring more.
Arlington tried to threaten in the bottom of the inning when Bishop hit a two-out single, but he was thrown out at second trying to steal.
The Eagles again tried to threaten in the bottom of the seventh when Cole Warner hit a bunt single. Chung followed with his own two-strike bunt single. They were moved up on a sacrifice bunt, but then Sheward struck out and Bishop grounded out to end the game.