A strong baseball season for the Eagles was brought to a troubling end when Federal Way High School (21-5) split their two 4A state regional playoff games.
In the first game at Everett Memorial Stadium on Saturday, the Eagles took on Central Valley of Spokane (21-4) winning by a score of 6-2.
Brandham Ponce held the Bears to two runs pitching five innings with Carter Berry closing out the final two innings of the game.
Josh Mears hit two home runs in consecutive at bats and was intentionally walked in his third appearance to the plate, while Jack Arsenian, Kaden Kirschenbaum and Cole Bakker all collected two hits each. Mears finished with 10 home runs for the season.
But the Eagles never got going in the second game and ultimately lost the state quarterfinal to Olympia (17-9) by a score of 8-0.
“It’s tough,” said Arlo Evasick, head coach for the Eagles. “It’s baseball. It’s a hard sport. It’s really hard.”
As Olympia players stormed the field with cheers of celebration, a silence fell over the Federal Way Eagles. A few players wiped away tears as the weight of the loss settled in.
Despite a long record of wins and a talented lineup of athletes, it simply comes down to whoever played better in each game, Evasick said.
“Any time there was a pivotal part in that game, [Olympia] won it almost every time,” he said.
Tyler Hoeft pitched well in the game, retiring the majority of batters he faced and kept it at a one-run ball game for five innings. Olympia led 1-0 going into the sixth inning with the only run coming from a throwing error to first base.
But Federal Way was unable to get the baseball to drop for a hit while Olympia executed flawless defense throughout the game.
Abiel Gonzales was the exception for the Eagles with two hits in the game including a double that hit the centerfield wall.
Federal Way got in trouble in the sixth inning when Hoeft exited from the mound after Olympia pulled out in front 2-0 with the bases loaded.
Olympia scored another three runs in the inning and three more in the seventh inning. Catcher Ayden Vega was able to end both innings with tags at the plate, but not before the damage was done with Olympia up eight runs.
The Eagles loaded the bases in the bottom of the final inning on a hard hit ball by Kyle Tran back to the pitcher, but the final out on the next pitch ended the game and a productive season for a talented Federal Way team.
Olympia moves on to the final four as they went out and surprised two of the best teams in the state, defeating both Skyline and Federal Way in the regionals.
Evasick said he tells everyone that Olympia “is the best coached team in the northwest, hands down.” The Bears head coach Derek Weldon previously coached the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles for three years.
In 2018, Federal Way lost in the 4A semifinal game to the eventual state champion Richland High School but returned the next day to beat Wenatchee and placed third in the state.
Federal Way finishes the season 21-5 overall and 13-1 in league games, which included 24 home runs and eight players earning all-division honors including Tyler Hoeft who pitched two no-hitters.
The 2018-2019 Federal Way Eagles varsity baseball team includes Jack Arsenian, Cole Bakker, Carter Berry, Alex Bradshaw, Abiel Gonzales, Tyler Hoeft, Kaden Kirchenbaum, Julian Martinez, Josh Mears, Anthony Myers, Noah Pawlowski, Brandham Ponce, Jacob Rice, Adam Taylor, Kyle Tran, Ayden Vega and Trevi Vo. Head Coach Arlo Evasick; assistant coaches Maika’i Derouin and Ron Sherwin.