By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
ARLINGTON — The Jackson softball team’s foray into the Wesco 4A North has been bumpy so far.
Friday afternoon it was on the verge of getting worse, but sophomore Sophie Frost’s arm and bat made sure the Timberwolves righted the ship. Frost limited Arlington to just four hits and struck out 11 in the circle and also knocked in the game-winning run in the top of the eighth inning as Jackson held on to beat Arlington 4-3 in a key Wesco 4A crossover game at Arlington H.S.
“This was huge for our confidence,” said Jackson head coach Kyle Peacocke. “I think we understand the (Wesco 4A) North has been more successful the past couple years. Arlington is defending state champs; Snohomish and Lake Stevens are really good. We didn’t play well defensively the past couple of games and for us to come out and play well and win it’s big for our confidence.”
After starting the season 10-0, Jackson (7-2 league, 12-2 overall) stumbled for the first time in a loss to Lake Stevens a week ago. On Wednesday, the Timberwolves gave up four home runs in a loss to Monroe, which is in fourth place in the North.
Friday another home run could have shaken the Timberwolves’ confidence. Having just taken a 3-2 in the top of the fifth inning, Jackson gave up a home run to the first batter of the next inning, Katelyn McDonald, who muscled a Frost pitch over the opposite field wall.
But Frost settled down and retired the next eight Arlington batters in order. After intentionally walking McDonald in the bottom of the seventh, Frost caught Jennifer Kellogg looking at a third strike to force extra innings.
“Sophie was outstanding today,” Peacocke said. “She kept us in the game and made pitches when she needed to.
“For a sophomore she shows a lot of poise and maturity.”
In the top of the eighth inning, Taylor Adams led off with a smash to third base that was nearly caught by Arlington’s Shyne McKay, whose subsequent throw to first base was not in time to get Adams. Up next, Frost hit a long drive over the left fielder’s head that hit the base of the wall, scoring Adams from first base and giving Jackson the lead for the third time in the game.
It was Frost’s first extra-base hit of the season, but not her first key hit of Friday’s game. With two outs in the fifth inning, Frost hit a looping ball over the Arlington second baseman’s head to score Adams from second base and give Jackson a 3-2 lead. Prior to Frost’s hit, Adams knocked in Kristen Scott from third base with a sharp RBI single down the third-base line to tie the score at 2 and then swiped second base to set up Frost’s RBI single.
“We’ve been down a couple times this year and the girls never, never quit,” Peacocke said. “The dugout conversation always stays positive and the girls are always pumping each other up. They’re going to fight tooth and nail and they did it again today.”
Adams was involved in every Jackson scoring play. In the third, Adams hit a two-out RBI single to score Sarah Casel for the game’s first run, helping her finish 4-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
“She’s becoming real clutch for us and she did a nice job of running the bases,” Peacocke said of Adams. “She hit the ball hard too.”
Katelyn McDonald, who finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, ignited Arlington’s first rally with a leadoff single in the third. Following a pair of outs, Katelynn Kazen’s infield single scored McDonald from second. Eagles starting pitcher Madeline Maclean then knocked in Kazen with an infield single of her own to give Arlington its only lead of the game.
It doesn’t get easier for Jackson as the Timberwolves face undefeated Snohomish on Thursday in a matchup of the top two teams in Wesco 4A.
As for Arlington (6-2, 9-4), the loss drops the Eagles into a tie with Lake Stevens for second place in the Wesco 4A North. Arlington finishes out its Wesco 4A South schedule with Edmonds-Woodway and Cascade next week, with showdowns against Lake Stevens and Snohomish looming in mid-May.
At Arlington H.S.
Sophie Frost and Kayla Ellis. Madeline Maclean and Jennifer Kellogg. WP—Frost (10-2). LP—Maclean (4-3). 2B—Sophie Frost (J) HR—Katelyn McDonald (A). Records—Jackson 7-2 league, 12-2 overall. Arlington 6-2, 9-4.