Early errors cost Falcon fastpitch

Falcon senior Abby Hodson secures the ball for an out at first base against Lakewood on March 31. South Whidbey lost 4-1 to the league’s top team.

Fielding errors in the second inning put South Whidbey softball into a hole from which the Falcons could not fly out against Lakewood on Tuesday.

South Whidbey lost 4-1. Only one run in the entire game was earned, a solo homer by Lakewood junior Alexis Lampinen.

Facing the Cascade Conference-leading Lakewood Cougars, South Whidbey had a few chances to swoop in on a narrow 2-0 Lakewood lead. None materialized as the Falcons stranded runners on base every inning, and no inning was as deflating as the fifth.

With the top of the batting order at the plate, the first two Falcon batters failed to get on base. Kacie Hanson, a sophomore, knocked a line drive single into left field. Anne Madsen, a senior, launched a standup double into deep left field to put two Falcons in scoring position. Leah Merrow, a sophomore, was hit by an errant pitch to load the bases.

Falcon freshman Mackenzee Collins slapped a grounder back to Lakewood pitcher Hailey Malakowski, who fielded it cleanly and tossed it to first base to clip the Falcons’ once-rowdy rally.

In the following play, Lampinen blasted the ball over the left field fence. South Whidbey got the next three batters out to limit the damage.

Trailing 3-0, Malakowski retired the first three Falcon batters of the sixth inning on two strikeouts and a groundout to the pitcher’s circle.

On Thursday, South Whidbey rebounded for a seventh-inning rally to beat Cedar Park Christian in Bothell.

Errors again factored into the hole from which the Falcons had to escape. Cedar Park took the lead 1-0 in the second inning and padded it to 4-1 heading into the final frame.

Falcon senior Callie Patterson, the leadoff batter, reached first on an error. Senior Chloe Huffman, who was 2-for-3 at the plate, doubled to move Patterson to third base. Cedar Park’s pitcher walked the next two batters for a score and loaded bases. Merrow brought in a run on a fielder’s choice to cut the lead to 4-3. Collins launched a two RBI single for the go-ahead run.

South Whidbey was able to retire the next three Cedar Park batters to preserve the win.