Eagles baseball state run ends early

Federal Way falls to Jackson 4-2 at Heritage Park.

The Federal Way Eagles baseball team was eliminated from the state playoffs in the first round in a 4-2 loss to Jackson High School at Heritage Park on May 20.

“I’m very proud of what they did. Quite honestly with the roster and limitations we have no one should have expected us to be here,” Head Coach Ron Sherwin said.

I know I did all I could do. I know my teammates did all they could do. We put the best effort that we could and I’m glad we did that. It didn’t go our way this time, we’ll get them next time,” sophomore Orlando Young said.

It was the first time the Eagles had been to the state tournament since 2019 and previously, Coach Ron Sherwin said this team was much different than that 2019 squad. For this year’s team, he was unsure they would win more than one game this whole season.

“After we stole our opener, with no claim to win whatsoever. I was concerned we might not win another one. The kids embraced it and worked. We got to a point mid-season where we started to believe,“ Sherwin said.

From the first game to the last the Eagles rose and met every challenge. Including coming back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game.

“It stings. Coach was talking about how we got nothing to lose. Just battle and we battled our hearts out,” Isaiah Afework said.

After a blazing hot 10-1 start to the season, the Eagles scuffled for about 10 days and wouldn’t win back-to-back games until the Decatur series April 25-26 and then in the playoffs beating Kentridge and Rogers to get in the state tournament.

In the game against Jackson, Orlando Young toed the slab for the Eagles. His coach’s confidence never wavered in the young pitcher even on the big stage. “I didn’t feel like they were going to do a lot with Orlando. I felt pretty confident in that. We were expecting a tight game,” Sherwin said.

Young went 5.1 innings, gave up five hits, allowed just two earned runs and struck out six Timberwolf batters. But he was honest in saying he didn’t have his best stuff in this one, “I knew I wasn’t myself out there, so I had to make a change. I mean it was a good battle and that’s the game,” Young said.

At the plate, the Eagles managed four hits across the seven-inning contest, and four different Eagles had those hits. Two-sport athlete Isaiah Afework had the lone RBI for the Eagles the loss marked the end of an illustrious sports career for Afework. “It’s surreal, it came to an end real fast. What a heck of a journey. I’m just so grateful,“ Afework said.

The future is bright for the Eagles, but this senior class was special for Coach Sherwin. “We’re going to have a pretty good core coming back, we’re still gonna pitch … If we can get some freshman to fill out the back of our program, then I’ll feel pretty good about what we’re gonna do,” Sherwin said.

It was Young’s first trip to the state tournament and he hopes it is something the Eagle seniors take with them, “It’s something to hang our hats on. It’s something that I know seniors will take forward having memories about it. It’s a really good accomplishment for all of us,” Young said.

It was an emotional end for many of the players as all season-ending games are, “I love these guys. It’s been such a pleasure I have special relationships with each and every one of them. It’s going to be tough to walk away from,” Afework said.