MOUNT VERNON — Arlington may as well have been playing a college baseball team.
The Eagles were up against O’Dea, which has six players on its roster who are going to play for Division 1 NCAA schools. That’s the highest level. And they also have a highly touted sophomore.
Yet, Arlington was leading 6-3 after five innings.
The game fell apart from there, however, as the Fighting Irish ended up winning in the bottom of the seventh on a walk-off single 7-6, knocking Arlington out of the state playoffs in the opening round for the third-straight year.
After defeating Arlington, O’Dea, 23-2, went on to beat Peninsula 12-4 in Saturday’s regional final to earn a spot in Friday’s state semifinals in Pasco.
The private catholic school gets players from all over and also won the state basketball title this year. Its alumni includes standout athletes like Myles Gaskin, Nate Burleson and Fred Couples.
Prior to 2016, Arlington hadn’t advanced to state in more than two decades and had reached state just twice in program history. Since then, the Eagles have made four-consecutive state appearances and compiled an 83-19 record, including 23-2 this year.
This was the third-consecutive one-run regional loss for the Eagles, who lost a 10-inning quarterfinal to Edmonds-Woodway two years ago and fell in an opening-round defeat to Eastside Catholic last season.
Ben Patacsil, a University of Portland signee, clobbered a two-run homer over the leftfield fence in the bottom of the first to give O’Dea an early lead. The Eagles came back with four runs in the fourth. Cole Cramer and Cole Warner connected for run-scoring singles, and Arlington plated two more runs on an error and a bases-loaded walk.
The Eagles tallied two more in the fifth on another Cramer single and a double by Paul Chung.
But in the bottom of the fifth, sophomore Max Debiec smacked another two-run homer to cut the lead to 6-5 then tied it in the sixth on a sacrifice fly.
O’Dea won it when Ben Schulte reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and advanced to third on an error. The Eagles walked the next two batters to load the bases and set up a force play, but the single erased those thoughts.
“Give them a ton of credit,” Arlington coach Scott Striegel told the Herald. “They swung it well. A couple pitches we missed on, and they squared up and hit a long ways. … It’s the best competition we’ve seen all year.
“These kids, … they’re great people. They carry themselves well, and they really represent Arlington baseball the way we’d want them to.”