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Cougars disappointed in extra innings
LAKEWOOD In a defensive staring match, the Lakewood baseball team held South Whidbey to a three-run tie from the fifth inning until the 10th, when the Cougars finally blinked and Falcon Lucas Yale ran in the first of two game-ending runs March 28 to hand Lakewood a 5-3 loss.
South Whidbey struck first, when pitcher Lakota Holder batted in Danny Parra in the third inning to go up 1-0, but Lakewood was quick to answer as Fabrice Lays and Collin Murphy got runs one and two for the Cougars in the bottom of the third, batted in on a single by Josh Spears.
With the Cougars up 2-1 at the top of the fourth, the Falcons added a mental element to the game, attempting to psyche out Lakewood pitcher Ryan Martin by taunting him from their dugout.
It must have worked, as Martin walked the next two Falcon batters, both of whom ran in and recaptured the one-run edge.
In the fifth, the Cougar dugout replied in kind, razzing the Falcon pitcher. First up in the inning, Murphy quickly got on base. Spears helped out on Murphys second run for Lakewood with a big double, positioning his teammate at third to be batted in by Martin late in the fifth inning and tying the game.
The next four and a half innings were an exciting duel between the teams. Each Lakewood at bat seemed full of promise, as South Whidbey threw only three strikeouts in the final five innings, requiring the Falcons to hold off Lakewood in the field.
Lakewood fared better on the mound under Martin and relief pitcher Marcus Harkins in the same time, and the Cougars seemed to have the momentum as their concise defensive play stopped Falcon runners who reached third base in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. A particularly thrilling seventh inning included a strikeout and a double play of Jordan Stauffer to Spears to Martin at first base to hold a Falcon runner at third for all three outs.
Things were looking good until Yale ran in. Parra batted in the last run not long after.
Lets just get three runs here, could be heard from the Cougar dugout as Lakewood came up to bat down 5-3 in the bottom of the 10th, and though Spears lobbed a ball into deep center field, it was not enough as he was taken out going for second base. The next two batters were out at first, and it was over.
I think it was a tough loss. It is any time you play in a game, 10 innings, and come up with a loss, said Lakewood head coach Larry Delaney. We had good pitching and dodged a few bullets, but they got a big hit.
Delaney added that he was happy with his pitching staff, but the team was running on empty with a schedule stacked with four games. We couldnt quite get that big opportunity tonight, he said.
Martin, who was a vocal part of the Cougars cross-field banter, said after the game that the back-and-forth seemed to energize the Lakewood players.
We just had to keep morale high, get in the other pitchers head. It seemed to work, he said. We hit the ball pretty well. We did all right fielding. Keeping morale high when we were down was probably the best thing we did.
At Lakewood H.S.
LW 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
S. Whid. 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 5