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Russell's Blast Launches Arlington Past Visiting Lexington

Left fielder Dan Russell's fourth-inning bomb down Pond Terrace gave the Spy Ponders a 2-1 lead and a much-needed spark.

With his team down 1-0 going into the bottom half of the fourth inning Wednesday against visiting Lexington, Arlington High’s Jonathan Matos asked his teammates, who had yet to get a hit, for a little help while he was walking off the mound.

“Come on! Let’s go!” he shouted coming back to the bench.

Left fielder Dan Russell must have heard him, as four batters later, with the bases loaded and one out, Russell absolutely crushed a ball over Lexington’s left fielder.

Russell easily could have circled the bases, but the ball rolled down Pond Terrace, which is a ground-rule double at Spy Pond Field. Regardless, he gave his Spy Ponders a 2-1 lead, which they would not relinquish on way to a 5-3 win.

With right fielder Matt Garcia up next, Lexington’s starting pitcher, Jason Tzannes, threw a wild pitch, allowing second baseman Hunter Sleeper to score from third and giving Arlington a two-run lead, at 3-1.

First baseman Dan Fitzgerald singled, catcher Remy Pontes walked and Sleeper got an infield single to load the bases for Russell.

After walking Lexington second baseman Levi Mattingly to open the top half of the fifth inning, Matos recorded two outs before letting in his only earned run of the game on an RBI single by Lexington’s Michael Loughlin.

In the bottom half of the fifth inning, Arlington responded, as Fitzgerald got things going again, this time with a lead-off double. He was later knocked in on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Mike Greco. Sleeper, who reached on an error, also scored in the inning on an RBI single by center fielder Seth Coiley.

With Arlington up 5-2 heading into the top half of the seventh inning, Matos took the hill once again. He got the lead-off batter, Lexington catcher Tomo Ebihara, to ground back to him. However, Matos then threw the ball over Fitzgerald’s head at first, putting Ebihara on. After a wild pitch, Matos gave up an RBI single to the next batter, Lexington’s Wilbert Arroyo, before he was relieved by Coiley.

With Coiley now on the mound and no outs, the tying run at the plate was Lexington third baseman Chris Shaw, a Boston College commit who’s widely considered to be the best slugger in the state.

Coiley walked Shaw on five pitches and then closed out the game for the save.

The left-handed Matos gave up three runs, one earned, in six innings of work. He also gave up three hits and had seven strikeouts and four walks.

After two walks and an error to load the bases in the top half of the third inning, Matos walked Mattingly to put Ebihara across for Lexington’s 1-0 lead.

After Shaw led off the game with a double, Matos didn’t allow a hit until Loughlin’s RBI single in the sixth.

For Arlington, Fitzgerald and shortstop Dan Medeiros reached base three times. Fitzgerald had two hits and a walk, while Medeiros had one hit, two walks.

Arlington (4-3) plays host to first-place, undefeated Reading at 3:45 p.m. today, back at Spy Pond Field.

Game Notes

  • Arlington’s Kyle Hood and Lexington’s Shaw both had outstanding plays at third base. In the top of the sixth inning, Hood raced to a ball that deflected off of Matos’ glove and then threw a rocket to get Tzannes out at first. Earlier, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Shaw robbed Hood of a single, as he casually stepped aside and swiped at a scorching one-hopper, fielding the play cleanly and getting Hood at first.
  • In the bottom of the second inning, Arlington’s Pontes hit a bomb near the left-filed foul pole. Lexington’s left fielder, Nick Murray, tracked it down and made a spectacular over-the-head catch. However, Murray then crashed hard into the metal foul pole and had to be taken out of the game with a deep cut to his left elbow.

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