Photo courtesy of Kyle Larsen The Eastside Catholic Crusaders defeated the Lakeside Lions 7-0 in the Class 3A Metro League baseball tournament championship game on May 9 at Steve Cox Memorial Park. It was the second year in a row the Crusaders captured the Metro League tournament title. Eastside Catholic will compete in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament on May 20 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue.

Crusaders capture Metro League championship on the diamond

For the second consecutive season the Eastside Catholic Crusaders baseball team reigned supreme in the Class 3A Metro League championship game.

Eastside Catholic senior hurler Justin Armbruester, who will play baseball at Pacific Lutheran University next season, unveiled a game for the ages against the Lakeside Lions in the Metro League title game. Armbruester put together a complete-game gem surrendering a meager two hits and no runs in seven innings of work, propelling the Crusaders to a 7-0 win against the Lions on May 9 at Steve Cox Memorial Park. Armbruester fanned 12 Lakeside hitters in the contest. Eastside Catholic improved its overall record to 17-5 with the win. The Crusaders will compete in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament on May 20 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. Eastside Catholic head coach Kyle Larsen was proud of his team for winning back-to-back Metro tournament titles.

“Obviously that is always the goal for us every year to win the Metro championship. It is a hard thing to do and it is hard just to get to that game let alone win it back-to-back times with the talent that is in the Metro League,” Larsen said. “To see our guys put together another run like this was awesome to see.”

The Crusaders went 3-0 at the Metro 3A tournament collecting victories against Garfield, Bainbridge Island and Lakeside. Larsen was particularly impressed with Armbruester’s performance against the Lions.

“He had a great outing. To have Justin go out there and do what he did against a really good team was great for us,” Larsen said. “It should give us a lot of confidence going into state [tournament].”

In 2016, the Crusaders saw their season end in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament courtesy of a 3-1 loss to the Sumner Spartans. The Crusaders are determined to not let history repeat itself this time around.

“The last two years we’ve been bumped [lost] in that first game [first round]. I know these guys are hungry. I wish we didn’t have to wait 10 days. I wish we could play tomorrow with how much we are clicking right now,” Larsen said in a phone interview on May 10. “I know these guys will be ready. We have a lot of returners from last year on this team that know the feeling and have been there [state tournament] before.”