Baseball a game away from first

“Once I face them, it’s just another game of baseball.”

In retrospect, this was an easy comment for Stephan Kolbo to make. But before Wednesday’s game against North Cascades Conference leader Lakewood, Kolbo, a starting junior pitcher for the Falcon baseball team, was a bundle of nerves.

Coming into the game just two back of the Cougars, the Falcons traveled to Lakewood for the midweek game with the potential to take their first conference championship in more than a decade. So it was with the weight of a season on his shoulders that Kolbo started hurling the baseball to Lakewood’s hitters.

Seven innings later, South Whidbey had not only won, but done it by its largest margin in six games, downing the Cougars 7-1 on six hits and a whole lot of heart.

Against what had, until Wednesday, been acknowledged as the most productive offense in the NCC, the Falcons turned the tables on the now 10-2 Cougars by taking a 2-0 lead in the second inning and never letting up.

The fifth inning was the clincher for the Falcons, as the team put four runs on the board on just one hit. With the bases loaded on two walks and a Lakewood fielding error, junior Michael Lodell pushed two runners home with the help of another Cougar fielding error. Senior Conley White then singled for an RBI, and was followed by junior Michael Osburn, who brought Lodell home on a suicide bunt. Osburn finished the day by picking up two RBIs on three sacrifice plays.

On defense, the Falcons had Kolbo’s back. In addition to his five strikeouts on the day, Kolbo forced the Cougar batters to hit grounder after grounder. The Falcon infield also turned in two double plays on the day, one of which ended the game in the seventh.

Kolbo is now 4-1 on the season. The Falcons other ace, Logan Hanna, is 5-0 after a South Whidbey victory over Meridian Monday.

The Falcons played Lakewood Friday. A victory would put them into first place in the NCC.

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