Sports

Lakewood baseball ends season at district tournament

Lakewood catcher Michael Leach moves runners over in the seventh inning with a sacrifice bunt. It was one of three Cougar bunts in the inning to take the lead at 8-7. - Travis Sherer
Lakewood catcher Michael Leach moves runners over in the seventh inning with a sacrifice bunt. It was one of three Cougar bunts in the inning to take the lead at 8-7.
— image credit: Travis Sherer

ANACORTES — The Cougars nearly earned a trip to the state tournament via the suicide squeeze.

Lakewood’s small-ball strategy was enough to force extra innings against defending 2A state champion Archbishop Murphy, but in the end the Cougars lost 8-7 in a winner-to-state game at in Anacortes.

“We’re disappointed, but it wasn’t because of a lack of effort,” said Lakewood manager Larry Delaney.

The Cougars rallied from a 7-6 deficit in the top of the seventh inning to score a pair of runs on just one hit. Luke Harkins walked to lead off the inning. He was followed by Kevin Harnden’s bunt single and Micheal Leach moved both runners over on a sacrifice bunt. Then the squeeze sent Harkins to the plate with Freddy Perez up. Although Perez didn’t make contact, ATM’s catcher mishandled the pitch reception, allowing Harkins to steal home. Alex Keen then brought home Harnden on an RBI single.

But the Wildcats evened the score in the bottom half of the inning off a homer by Tyler Kane.

The Cougars had a chance to strike first in extra innings, when Shay Dearing had a bunt single and advanced to second on a misthrow to the pitcher. Andrew Bean sacrificed him over to third with one out. Delaney then called for the squeeze again, but this time ATM was waiting for it.

“You do that and it’s a roll of the dice,” said Delaney. “That’s our style of play. They had a good pitcher on the hill with a good curve ball and stays low in the zone. We did it in the seventh and were winners.”

That loss put the Cougars in a loser-out game against Sehome May 15 that might not have had as high of a score, but was also not without drama.

With two outs in the seventh inning and Lakewood trailing 2-0, Keen hit an RBI double. He then advanced to third on a balk, but the Cougars were unable to bring him home to tie the game and force extra innings, effectively ending their season.

Lakewood’s Harnden scattered seven hits in as many innings to hold Sehome to just a pair of runs.

“Kevin pitched an outstanding game, their guy was just a little better,” said Delaney.

Lakewood finished the season 13-10 overall.

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