Sports

South Whidbey baseball loses third straight game to Lakewood Cougars

Jeff VanDerford / The Record Falcon Dakota Hanna calmly lets a ball go past him during the team’s 10-7 loss to the Lakewood Cougars on Friday. At 4 p.m. Wednesday, South Whidbey hosts Coupeville for the second game of a series at Falcon Field. - Jeff VanDerford
Jeff VanDerford / The Record Falcon Dakota Hanna calmly lets a ball go past him during the team’s 10-7 loss to the Lakewood Cougars on Friday. At 4 p.m. Wednesday, South Whidbey hosts Coupeville for the second game of a series at Falcon Field.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

LANGLEY — It may be a contradiction, but though the Falcon baseball team had one of its finest games of the season Friday, they lost 10-7 to the Lakewood Cougars in the third of a three-game series.

South Whidbey is now 3-7 in the league, 5-7 overall.

The game lasted 11 innings, with only one error per team and a combined 30 hits on the day. It also featured some spectacular defense by the Falcons as they threw three Cougars out at the plate in the overtime frames.

Going into the fifth inning, Lakewood led 1-0. The Cougars had the bases loaded with two outs and a full count on the hitter. With all runners moving on the pitch, Cougar hitter Alex Keen knocked a routine fly ball to right field, as Falcon right fielder Dalton Smith drifted over for the catch. Suddenly, Smith was tripped up by an outfield hole and went down, allowing three runs.

“Had that play not happened the Falcons could have easily won the game 6-3,” noted Falcon coach Dave Guetlin.

“But South Whidbey refused to let a bad field get them down, coming right back with two runs of our own in the bottom half of the fifth to bring the score to 4-2,” he said.

Back-to-back hits by Smith and Dakota Brown were followed by a two-run double by Michael Agate.

With both teams scoreless in the sixth, Lakewood picked up two unearned runs in the seventh inning, making the score 6-2, Cougars.

In the bottom of the same inning, though, the Falcons unleashed four runs.

A lead-off walk to Craig Hawkinson was followed by Smith being hit by a pitch. Those two were then followed by four straight Falcon hits by Agate, “Duck” Hanna, Robert Kirby and Austin Bennett to tie the score at 6-6. The Falcons had the winning run on third base with one out, but couldn’t manage to push the runner in.

Freshman pitcher Jack Lewis threw two scoreless innings and kept the Cougars off the board. Hanna came in relief in the ninth, also throwing two scoreless innings but he seemed to tire as the Cougars picked up the winning runs, using five singles to plate four runs.

Again however, the Falcons didn’t go away easily as they used a lead-off walk to Agate, who scored after singles by Bennett and TJ Fallon.

Hanna said it was all about the hitting.

“They had more big innings than we did,” he said. “In the eighth inning, we had runners on first and second with no outs and couldn’t score; that was the difference.”

Smith agreed.

“We had lots of chances to capitalize, to save the game,” he noted. “Our defense was great but the hitting was, well, hit or miss all day.”

First baseman Fallon thinks he and his teammates were suffering from spring-breakitis.

“We were more relaxed all week but now since we’re back in school, things will tighten up,” he said.

Fallon said the coach was generally pleased, despite the score.

“He expects that we will leave everything we have on the field, and that’s what we did on Friday,” Fallon said.

Hitting continues to plague South Whidbey, however.

On Monday, the team dropped the first of a three game series to arch-rival Coupeville by a score of 8-1.

“The story of the game was lack of timely hitting,” Guetlin said. “The Falcons could only manage four hits off Wolf starter Ian Smith, who went the distance for Coupeville.”

Today, the team hosts Coupeville at 4 p.m. at Falcon Field.

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