By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
ARLINGTON — After watching his team fail to score in the bottom of the fifth inning of Tuesday’s game against Snohomish, Arlington coach Dan Eng gathered his team together and let out a cheer for the opponent, thinking the mercy rule had been enacted and the game was over.
One problem: The Panthers led 9-0, one run short of the so-called 10-run rule.
But Eng could hardly be blamed for wanting to get the game over as soon as possible.
In a matchup of the top two teams in the Wesco 4A North, Snohomish put on a hitting clinic and starting pitcher Alyssa Simons was in complete command on the mound, tossing a shutout to lead the Panthers to a 9-0 win at Arlington High School in Tuesday.
Eng, who coaches Simons in the summer on his Sidewinder Gold club team, wasn’t surprised his team had trouble getting anything going against the sophomore.
“She can hit her spots and her movement is great,” Eng said of Simons. “She keeps it down, but she can also bring it up and move it side to side. She’s also got an outrageous changeup.”
Simons scattered nine hits and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning to pick up her third win of the season for Snohomish (4-0 league, 9-0 overall), which remained unbeaten and took over sole possession of first place in the 4A North.
“When she’s hitting her spots she’s really, really difficult to face,” said Snohomish coach Lou Kennedy. “You’ll get some hits off her, but nothing real solid.”
The Panthers, on the other hand, got a number of solid hits. Bailey Seek, the Panthers’ senior ace who got a day off, started the hit parade with mammoth two-run double in the first inning. Jennie Winston had a two-run double of her own in the second inning to give Snohomish a 4-0 lead over Arlington (3-1, 6-3).
Seek, Katlyn Purvis, Morgan Greenlee and Simons all had multiple hits and every batter in the Snohomish lineup reached base at least once.
“With this lineup, when it gets going, there’s a lot of power, even in the bottom half,” Kennedy said.
Snohomish added two runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth to effectively put the game away — and fool Eng. Snohomish senior and University of Washington recruit Trysten Melhart played a significant part in both innings. After reaching on a fielder’s choice in the fourth, the Panthers center fielder stole second. Two pitches later, she took third on a delayed steal and then advanced home after the throw to third was offline. In the sixth, Melhart reached on a slap single, stole second again and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Purvis.
Eng, who lost a number of seniors off of last season’s state championship-winning team, knew his young team was in for a tough test against Snohomish.
“We needed to see where we were at against one of the top teams and (Snohomish) is that,” said Eng, who has used seven different lineups in the first nine games. “(Snohomish is) an older team and mature. This was a great learning experience for our kids. … This gives us a chance to mature from that.”
Arlington senior Katelyn McDonald went 3-for-4 with a double — her sixth of the season — in the third inning to lead the Eagles’ offense.
“She’s a hitting machine,” Eng said.
Snohomish faces Everett today and then starts its foray into the Wesco 4A South, with a showdown against first-place and undefeated Jackson waiting on May 1.
“We’re trying not to peak too early,” Kennedy said. “I’d rather them just keep playing and keep getting good at-bats. We have such a good defense, this team doesn’t make mistakes, and for us that’s awesome. To add hitting and pitching to that it feels great.”
At Arlington H.S.
Alyssa Simons and Morgan Greenlee. Chandler Bishop, Madeline Maclean (4) and Jennifer Kellogg. WP—Simons (3-0). LP—Bishop (3-1). 2B—Bailey Seek (S), Jennie Winston (S), Katelyn McDonald (A), Rachel Crippen (S). Records—Snohomish 4-0 league, 9-0 overall. Arlington 3-1, 6-3.