SNOHOMISH — Early clutch hitting and a defensive gem turned in by center fielder Nolan Smith helped give Snohomish a 2-1 victory over Arlington in a Wesco 4A North game on Tuesday afternoon, keeping the Panthers league title hopes alive.
With the bases loaded and no outs, the Eagles had an opportunity for a big inning in the top of the first. But starting pitcher Ryan Sandifer worked out of the jam, limiting Arlington to only one run — on a fielder’s choice groundout to third base.
In the bottom half of the inning, Smith led off with a single and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice. Tanner Arrington hit a single to drive in Smith and tie the game at 1.
The second inning played out much the same way with Haakon Lande connecting on a single and Garrett Stich hitting an RBI single to left field for the go-ahead run.
Smith finished the day 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. The senior also had a key play in the outfield to squash another Eagles’ rally. With a runner on first, an Arlington batter hit a line drive to center field, where Smith made a running catch around his knees. Smith came up and threw a strike to first base to double up the runner.
“That was a big highlight for us,” said Snohomish head coach Kim Hammons. “Nolan had a really good day.”
Hammons also described the game as a pitchers’ duel despite using three pitchers in relief.
“It was all on pitch count,” Hammons said. “The guys we threw today, we couldn’t gas them out. We’ve got a playoff game on Saturday, so we kept everyone today under 30 pitches. We got them off the field with no problems and each of them mainly pitched a bullpen session.”
The victory helped Snohomish (10-5 league, 13-6 overall) remain tied with Lake Stevens (10-5, 12-7) for first place in the Wesco 4A North with one game to play. Snohomish travels to take on Arlington, while Lake Stevens travels to play Monroe. Both games are Wednesday. If both teams win they will split the league title and Lake Stevens will earn the North’s No. 1 seed based on a tiebreaker.
“At the very least we would love to tie for the league championship,” Hammons said. “but whatever happens, happens. We just need to continue to play well, play good defense and keep up with our pitching. That’s been the story of our year.”
Arlington (6-9, 7-12), meanwhile, must win to keep its district playoff hopes alive. If the Eagles lose, Mount Vernon (6-10, 8-12) will grab the 4A North’s final district berth based on the Bulldogs’ 3-1 record against Arlington.
At Snohomish H.S.
Kyle Osborn and Josh Schempp. Ryan Sandifer, Tanner Arrington (3), Garrett Stich (5), Andrew Conrad (7) and Ben Dmochowsky. WP—Sandifer (6-1). LP—Osborn (0-1). 2B—Nolan Smith (S), Tanner Arrington (S). Records—Arlington 6-9 league, 7-12 overall. Snohomish 10-5, 13-6.