By David Krueger Herald Writer
EVERETT — It took a few innings for the Arlington softball team to get going Friday night.
But once the Eagles got rolling, they didn’t stop.
Arlington scored 11 runs in the final three innings — including a two-run home run by Katelyn McDonald in the seventh — and defeated Everett 13-0 in the Eagles’ nonleague season opener.
“They just got it going,” Arlington head coach Dan Eng said about his players. “They finally relaxed and started playing the game the way they can.”
The Eagles scored two runs through the first four innings but were able to maintain the lead thanks to senior pitcher Hayley Fields. Fields struck out 14 batters, scattered four hits and didn’t allow an Everett baserunner past second base.
“Hayley Fields had a great game,” Eng said. “She kept us in it early.”
Eventually, Arlington’s offense came around. Katelynn Kazen got the scoring started in the top of the fifth inning with an RBI triple and scored when McDonald, the next batter, singled. Fields helped herself out with an RBI single and scored a run on a single by her sister Hayden Fields. Hayden Fields was thrown out trying to extend the hit into a double and that ended the inning.
Kazen added another RBI in the top of the sixth and then scored on a Hayley Fields’ single. The Eagles added four more runs in the final inning, thanks in large part to McDonald’s two-run home run over the right-center field fence.
Eng said he believes McDonald has the ability to hit a home run every time she steps up to the plate, and that he expects her to hit one.
“I do,” he said. “She has enough power. And you can’t pitch around her because we have more power hitters behind her.”
Kazen finished the night 4-for-5 with a triple, three runs scored and three RBI. McDonald batted 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored. Fields batted 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored to complement with her victory on the mound.
“Arlington is a great team,” Everett head coach Meagan Semore said. “They can hit the ball and were able to pull away in the end.”
Arlington got its first win of the season despite its early-game nerves. Eng said the Eagles, who went 18-2 in the regular season last year, have no reason to be nervous. He’s hoping that now that they’ve seen what they can do, both offensively and defensively, they can do it in their 19 other regular-season games.
“For them, (nerves) shouldn’t be there,” Eng said. “But they were. Then they got in the flow of the game and (the nerves) went away.”
Fields, for one, seemed comfortable, striking out Everett’s lineup in the first and third innings. Ten of the Seagulls’ first 12 outs came on strikeouts by the senior, who is headed to Simpson University in Redding, Calif., with her sister after this season.
Eng, Arlington’s first-year coach, said it was huge to start the season with a victory. He’s hoping it helps set the tone for the Eagles’ season, after a disappointing 1-2 finish in last year’s district tournament.
“It’s big. It’s very, very big to get that first win,” Eng said. “It gives them confidence and a little bit of rejuvenation.”
Everett (0-2), which finished second at the 3A state tournament a year ago, lost its second game of the season. Semore, in her first year as head of the Seagulls, said the game was a way for the young Everett squad to see how they compared to a talented Arlington team.
The Seagulls, who have two seniors and six freshman on their squad, return two players from last year’s team.
“The goal for our team was to play a game and see where we stand,” Semore said. “Gauge where we’re at, where we need to go and what we need to work on.”
Freshman Gabby Koehler batted 2-for-3 to lead Everett. Erika Hall, another freshman, added a double in the sixth inning but was thrown out trying to make it a triple.
Semore said that, like Arlington, her team had some nerves under the lights at Lincoln Field on Friday night. However, she still believes her young team will have a strong season.
“I think they’re a little nervous, but it’s a good nervous,” Semore said. “There’s nerves for all of us. We’re a brand new team.”
At Lincoln Field
Hayley Fields and Lynsey Amundson. Erin Gordon and Mindy Gunn. WP—Fields (1-0). LP—Gordon (0-1). 2B—Katelyn McDonald (A), Amundson (A), Fields (A), Marisa Rathert (A), Erika Hall (E). 3B—Katelynn Kazen (A). HR—McDonald (A). Records—Arlington 1-0 overall. Everett 0-2.