Late hit snaps tie, propels South Whidbey Legion past Lynden

American Legion runner Robert Kirby heads back to first base after an unsuccessful steal attempt.

LANGLEY — The South Whidbey American Legion Post 141 Falcons flew around the bases in fine style Monday, beating Lake Stevens 4-3.

The team stands at 3-2 overall for the season.

The Falcons only managed four hits, but each counted. Mick Poynter had two, Jon Adams and Duck Hanna one each.

“The win was ugly,” said team manager Brad Jaeger. “But certainly not as bad as losing. With our greater speed, we had nine walks and 10 stolen bases.”

In the final inning with two outs and the score tied, Robert Kirby walked to first, stole a couple bases and scored on Hanna’s second hit. Lake Stevens’ shortstop bobbled the ball and Kirby managed to slide into home.

“Hanna did a great pitching job for us and Lynden only managed three unearned runs in the sixth inning,” Jaeger said.

Catcher Nick Tenuta said the win was a close call.

“It was a fun game for us; it always is when it goes right down to the wire,” he said. “Duck did a good job pitching out there for us.”

The win came on the heels of a 7-1 victory over Lynden the previous Friday featuring a towering, unexpected grand slam home run from Lucas Yale.

“I told him to just hit it up the slot and suddenly the ball was gone,” Jaeger recalled.

Yale loved the moment.

“It was very exciting,” he said. “Anything I can do to help the team.”

The Falcons had four double plays and allowed only a single stolen base in the 7-1 victory.

Jaeger, coach Dave Moody and assistant coach Tom Fallon formed the team with a specific goal in mind — to give the boys the training they’ll need to make it to state finals next spring. The boys had to commit to playing two games and practicing twice a week.

Not everyone stayed the course, however.

“We had a big turnout at the start,” pitcher Luke Hodson said. “Jobs and other sports have forced some to quit. But the people sticking with it will form the core next spring.”

Overall, Tenuta thinks the lessons learned and experience gained will stand the team in good stead when baseball begins again.

“It should pay off for us next year because most of us will be on the varsity roster,” he said.

Adams has found the biggest lesson comes from pitching to guys from bigger 4A schools.

“It helps us improve on defense,” he said. “And when we win, that tells us we can take on anyone.”

The team’s season continues, 6 p.m. at Falcon Field with Snohomish on June 26, island rival Oak Harbor on July 1 and then a wrap-up contest July 10 against Bellingham.