Snohomish senior pitcher Van Berman strikes out a batter to end the inning during a matchup against Arlington on Friday, April 14, 2023, at Earl Torgeson Field in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Snohomish senior pitcher Van Berman strikes out a batter to end the inning during a matchup against Arlington on Friday, April 14, 2023, at Earl Torgeson Field in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Walk-off hit lifts Snohomish past Arlington

Easton Leonard delivers the winning hit and backs a strong start from Van Berman as the Panthers edge the Eagles 4-3.

SNOHOMISH — After Snohomish seniors Gavin Maynard and Austin Baalman set the table with seventh-inning singles, fellow senior Easton Leonard finished the job for the Panthers with a walk-off RBI to edge out visiting Arlington.

Snohomish took down the Eagles 4-3 in a Wesco 3A/2A North league baseball game on Friday evening at Earl Torgeson Field, rebounding from a 6-0 loss on Tuesday in the first part of a two-game series.

“We’ve been kind of in a funk with our offense over the last week or so,” Panthers coach Nick Hammons said. “But I think part of it has to do with mental toughness and not being in those tough situations. We had guys go up there and get quality at-bats and in big pressure moments, they came through for us.”

The Panthers (10-4, 7-1) went 9-for-30 at the plate and Leonard went 3-for-4 with two RBI as he gave Snohomish its first run of the day in the third.

Eagles senior pitcher Ty Rusko went 3-for-4 at the plate, adding two RBI with a solo homer to right field that boosted Arlington ahead 2-0 in the top of the third. He also collected four strikeouts on the mound for Arlington, which now sits at 7-7 on the year ,and 5-3 in league.

Snohomish senior Van Berman came up with a big pitching performance as he laid the table for Nickolas Sakamoto’s fifth-inning triple and run, blanking Arlington from the fourth-through-sixth innings.

“Van’s a bulldog,” Hammons said. “He’s been in our rotation the last two years and has a lot of experience. And, in a big moment like this, facing a tough team in Arlington, who’s good every year … he really came through for us and competed. He did what he had to do.”

Berman fanned eight batters with one walk over six innings before being relieved by senior Jackson Weeks in the final frame.

After the Panthers’ pair of RBI plays in the third, Sakamoto put his team ahead in the fifth with his crucial triple that brought him all the way to home plate off an error.

“There was a miscommunication with the cut off and I just saw an opportunity,” Hammons said. “Nic is the fastest kid on our team so I just kept telling him to go get it and he ended up making it home, it was pretty sweet.”

With two outs in the top of the seventh, Rusko came in clutch for Arlington with an RBI single that tied the game at three. However, his efforts weren’t enough as the Eagles went just 5-for-24 in their at-bats overall.

With the win, Snohomish maintained its grip on first place in the Wesco North regular-season standings.

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