Lakewood Cougars win in walk-off fashion

LAKEWOOD — Scoring nine runs in an inning is hard enough, but doing it to win the season-opening series against the reigning Cascade Conference champion is a statement.

“I’m real proud of my guys,” said Lakewood coach Larry Delaney after the 13-12 walk-off victory on March 19. “Some players would have been satisfied with taking one game from Archbishop Murphy after being down 8-0, but they weren’t. They fought back.”

The final blow came in walk-off form in the bottom of the seventh by Lakewood sophomore Alex Keen driving in the final run of a near three-hour contest.

The Cougars trailed 12-9 heading into the seventh, but loaded the bases on three singles with nobody out. A fielder’s choice scored one run, and Cory Moore tied the game on a two-run double. With runners on second and third, the Cougars tried a squeeze but were unsuccessful, leaving just a hit between a victory and extra innings. Keen put the ball between the pitcher and the shortstop, causing one of the Wildcats’ seven errors.

“We wanted to hit the ball hard and force them to make plays,” Delaney said. “And that’s what Keen did. You’ve got to hand it to him because that’s a lot of pressure for a sophomore.”

Keen wasn’t the only Cougar to test the Wildcats’ fielding prowess. Lakewood trailed 8-0 in the fourth inning when they scored nine runs on three hits, two walks and three errors. The inning started off with a solo shot by Moore.

“It’s been kind of feast or famine with him in this series,” Delaney said. “It was nice to see him get locked in.”

Moore, who went 5-for-12 including two home runs in the series, said that with every run the Cougars scored in the fourth, the smiles of his teammates in the dugout got a little wider.

“It didn’t really seem like we were out of it,” Moore said. “We know we have a pretty good hitting team, we just had to put the ball in play.”

Earlier in the week, the Cougars had split a pair of meetings with the Wildcats, starting with a 6-5 win at home March 15 and followed by a 7-1 loss on March 17.

“You’ve got to hand it to these guys for bouncing back the way they did from Wednesday and today,” Delaney said. “This Archbishop Murphy team was pretty highly touted starting the season and we didn’t back down. We played them tough at their place, but didn’t come away with the win and today was really important for this program.”

Freddy Perez and Andrew Bean each went 3-for-4 in the rubber match, with 2 RBIs a piece.

Lakewood takes its 2-1 record into a series against Granite Falls March 22, 24 and 26.

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