Baseball: Eagles give up 12 singles in loss to Mount Rainier

Federal Way baseball could only muster four hits against Rams starter Kenny Hall.

After a 3-0 start, the Federal Way Eagles baseball team looked to be hitting all the right buttons.

But since that hot start, the Eagles have faltered, including their most recent game against Mount Rainier. Federal Way just didn’t meet the competitiveness that the Rams brought, and it was evident from the first pitch to the last.

“We try and develop competitiveness in the players,” said Head Coach Ron Sherwin. “They’ve got a passive approach; they just don’t understand how to compete yet. We just have to get past that.”

The Rams shut out the Eagles 7-0 at Federal Way on March 26 with a stellar performance from Mount Rainier starting pitcher Kenny Hall.

Offensively, the Eagles had been swinging a hot bat coming into their first league matchup. In the five games played, Federal Way scored five or more runs in all but one of those games.

Hall silenced those bats and held the Eagles to just four hits. Junior Ethan Lankford had a double in the first inning for the lone extra base hit in the game, while Orlando Young recorded a single in the fourth and Luke Koenig had a pair of singles.

On the mound, Koenig got the ball to start for Sherwin’s side, and he was able to limit the damage. But the Rams got their hits and they were timely. Mount Rainier finished the game with 12 hits, and all of them were singles.

The bases were pretty busy in Koenig’s third start of the season. In four out of his five innings of work, he had a runner reach base. Koenig only allowed three runs — two were earned and all three came off of two hits from Nolan Enghusen. One hit scored two in the second, and his second base hit off Koenig came in the fourth.

Federal Way really ran into trouble in the top of the sixth, Thoma Holden came out of the bullpen and couldn’t find his groove. An error, walk and single put Mount Rainier in another threatening position. Three singles later, the Rams took a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth.

This game could serve as a wakeup call for the Federal Way defense as well. The Eagles are averaging exactly three errors a game, which is the exact number of errors committed in the loss to Mount Rainier.

“We just kick the ball around too much … It puts a lot of pressure on pitchers … Pitch count is a big issue for us. When we’re kicking the ball around and have to face more hitters, we run into situations like we did today,” Sherwin said.

Finding balance between experienced players and young players has been a challenge for Sherwin so far this year.

“We’ve got to find a group of players who are going to compete. We have ups and downs as competitors, and you just can’t do that in a seven-inning game. It’s just too short,” Sherwin said.

One of those competitors is Eagle shortstop and University of Washington commit Orlando Young. He has taken a much louder role on this year’s team, something they had to have.

“He leads by example in his play. He’s more vocal now and I welcome that,” said Sherwin.

Federal Way has another shot at the Rams on March 27 and hopes to right the ship the next time out. “These (league) games are important to us. The rest of our schedule doesn’t mean anything, it’s how do we do in these 12 games that decide ultimately our success with respect to our goals. Which is to go to the playoffs,” Sherwin said.

“Tomorrow is another day. It’s another opportunity to reset. That is the beauty of baseball, tomorrow is always coming,” he added.

Federal Way batter strikes out against Mount Rainier. Ben Ray / The Mirror

Federal Way batter strikes out against Mount Rainier. Ben Ray / The Mirror

Vinsant Mounkhourne gets hit by a pitch against the Rams. Ben Ray / The Mirror

Vinsant Mounkhourne gets hit by a pitch against the Rams. Ben Ray / The Mirror