A five-run second inning leaped the Lakewood Cougars baseball squad past South Whidbey to a 9-6 win on a wet and windy Friday.
Lakewood jumped from trailing 2-0 in the first inning to leading 7-4 in the third. Lakewood strung together a handful of singles and a few walks to score seven runs. Falcon pitcher Charlie Patterson, a junior, got out of the inning after back-to-back groundouts by the Cougars.
South Whidbey did not rest on its laurels. Austin Sterba, a sophomore, fought to a full-count walk before being knocked to third base on a line drive single into right field by sophomore Will Simms. After stealing second, a fielder’s choice scored Sterba and moved Simms to third. He scored on a passed ball.
Neither team would score again until the fifth inning. The Falcons’ were led by junior Ricky Muzzy, who reached first base on an error. The fleet-footed infielder bolted to second base during teammate Connor Antich’s time at-bat. Antich reached first base on an error by the pitcher trying to field the high-bouncing grounder. Mo Hamsa’s sacrifice fly to center field scored Muzzy, and Antich reached third on the throw to home plate. Brent Piehler, a senior, fouled off several pitches before ripping one through the left infield to score Antich.
Lakewood responded with a security run in the sixth. The Cougars led off with a line drive single by Matt Seiber. South Whidbey relieved Patterson from the mound and brought in Muzzy. Cougar junior Sam Linscott laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Seiber to second. Hunter Fritz, a Cougar senior, knocked a single past Falcon third baseman Trent Fallon that scored Seiber.
Yet despite giving up another single and walking a Cougar, Muzzy stranded three runners and got the last two batters to fly out, thanks in part to an athletic catch in center field by Patterson.
Keeping senior pitcher Taylor Hogue on the mound, Lakewood made quick work of South Whidbey’s next three batters in the sixth inning. Not one reached base.
In the seventh, Lakewood padded its lead on a RBI sacrifice fly by Linscott.
South Whidbey got two batters on base in the seventh on a pair of singles by Antich and Hamsa. But Hogue threw low to Patterson and Piehler for a pair of popups to end the game.
Near the bottom of the league standings, South Whidbey’s true regular-season test began April 13.
The Falcons hosted Cedar Park Christian, a newcomer to the Cascade Conference and a fellow 1A school. The rest of South Whidbey’s schedule will determine its eligibility for the postseason with series against Sultan and King’s the next two weeks.