The Arlington’s High School baseball team’s long wait to return to the state final four is over.
The Admirals booked their tickets to Binghamton with ease on Tuesday with a 10-3 victory over Minisink Valley in a Class AA regional final at Dutchess Stadium.
“The coaches told us it was the first time in 26 years our team has gone this far, so it’s a really huge accomplishment for us,” Arlington junior center fielder Danny Lowndes said. “We’re really proud of it.”
Arlington will play in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association semifinals at Binghamton University on Saturday at 1 p.m. against the winner of Tuesday’s game between Section 5’s Victor and Section 6’s Clarence, which finished after the Journal went to press.
“I’ve been to the state final four one other time (when coaching) Millbrook, and it was a tremendous experience,” Arlington coach Al Hammell said. “The biggest thing for me right now is I’m just very happy for my kids. I’m not worried about anything else but making sure I get these kids prepared to compete at the best of their abilities for a state championship this weekend.”
The Admirals (20-5) trailed only briefly against Minisink (15-10). After allowing a first-inning run, Arlington tied the score in the second on a Kieran Mitchell sacrifice fly. Lowndes then delivered the biggest hit of the afternoon with a two-RBI single with the bases loaded to put the Admirals up 3-1.
“I was really just trying to put the ball in play,” Lowndes said. “We needed to score some runs and that happened.”
The junior believes that the big comeback win against Fox Lane gave Arlington a huge boost.
“That game gave us a ton of confidence,” he said. “Now we know we can do anything. We came out with a lot of passion and fire right from the start and that’s what made us win today.”
The Admirals added on in the third inning as the Section 9 champions succumbed to a rash of sloppy fielding. After an error by losing pitcher Josh Walker led to the fourth Arlington run, the Admirals went up 5-1 on a Rob Michael suicide squeeze that plated Matt Carlin.
Winning pitcher Joe DeRosa went six innings, allowing four hits and three earned runs.
“I got off to a little bit of a slow start, but then I picked it up,” DeRosa said. “The last couple of innings I got a little bit tired, but we pulled through as a team.”
Already ahead 6-3, Arlington cemented the win with four runs in the top of seventh, needing only one hit as Minisink offered a combination of errors, wild pitches and passed balls. For the game, Arlington scored 10 runs on only eight hits.
With regional title under its belt, Arlington now looks ahead to Binghamton.
“I made a decision to come to Arlington five years ago because I felt like I could build a strong program and bring it back to where it was in the ’80s, when they won a state championship,” Hammell said. “We wanted to put together a good solid program and it’s a great baseball community. The people here at Arlington are really true baseball people, and I’m just really happy that I could be here and provide this for the kids and the community.”