Saturday, May 19 the Vikings beat the Skyview Storm to become one of the final eight teams still alive in the state playoffs. After taking a early lead, Lake had to go into extra innings to get the victory.
Lake scored two runs in the second behind a lead off double from Christian Shouman, a Skyview error and an RBI single from Jake Nelson. They added one more run, to go ahead 3-0, in the fourth on a two out RBI single by Anthony Blackie to score Wade Curtis, who had singled.
Blackie started the game pitching for the Vikings and had no problem with the Skyview hitters through the first four innings, giving up one hit while striking out six. In the fifth he lost his command of the strike zone as he walked four to force in a run before being replaced by Branden Kelliher. Skyview ended up scoring four runs in the inning without the benefit of a hit, to take a 4-3 lead.
Lake regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth with two runs of their own. After Christian Gasca singled and Corey Bullens walked, Curtis singled to drive Gasca home and Bullens scored on a throwing error.
Kelliher walked the lead off batter in the sixth and that runner eventually came around to score and tie the game at five.
After that walk, Kelliher shut down the Storm hitters through the eighth inning until Lake could manufacture a run and a victory. He finished with six strikeouts in his four innings of work, to earn the win.
Nelson scored the winning run in the bottom half of the eighth after reaching base on a fielding error. After reaching base, Nelson stole second base and Skyview walked Dylan LaVelle (his fourth walk in the game) and Blackie laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to get Nelson to third base, when the throw to first to get Blackie was off target Nelson scored easily to move the Vikings into the final eight and a match up with Puyallup to see who will move on to Pasco and a spot in the final four.
Puyallup 10 Lake 6
The Vikings move on to the final four! Unfortunately for the Lake Stevens baseball team, it is the Puyallup Vikings that are moving on with a chance to play for a state championship. A promising season came to an abrupt end on Saturday, May 19 at Everett Memorial Stadium. Lake finishes an incredible season with a 23-2 record, a Wesco North championship and District championship to their credit.
It seemed like Lake was destined to make the trip to Pasco when they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Curtis lead off the game with a walk and Nelson followed with drive high off the right center field wall for a RBI double. LaVelle came to the plate next and singled. With Nelson at third base, LaVelle stole second base and on the throw to second, Nelson broke for home and the Vikings pulled off a double steal. After Logan Merrill walked, Shouman came through with a RBI single to score LaVelle and chase Puyallup’s starting pitcher from the mound. Gasca greeted the new pitcher with a sacrifice fly to score Merrill and Lake looked well on there way with a four run lead.
Nelson started on the mound for Lake and looked to be in control with only one base runner in the first two innings, which came on a walk. In the third inning the momentum took a turn towards the Vikings from down south. After Nelson got a fly ball out, Puyallup got back to back hits and with runners at the corners Lake got what seemed like a sure double play ball, but they failed to get even one out on the play. Puyallup ended up with three runs before the inning was over, to make the score 4-3.
Lake tried to take the momentum back with two runs of their own in the fourth. Bullens started the inning with a walk and Peter Ruiz drove him in with a single. After singles by Curtis and Blackie to load the bases, Merrill drew a walk to force in a run and extend the lead to 6-3.
LaVelle relieved Nelson on the mound in the fourth with the hope that he could induce a few more called strikes from the home plate umpire than Nelson could. Nothing seemed to change as several quality pitches apparently missed the strike zone and Puyallup put two more runs on the board, with the help of another Viking error, to cut the lead to 6-5.
The score remained 6-5 until the bottom of the sixth, when a blown call from one of the field umpires unfortunately was the turning point of the game. With two outs and a runner on first base, the runner attempted to steal second and Logan Merrill’s throw to Nelson clearly beat the runner and Nelson applied the tag, only to have the umpire call him safe, to everyone’s surprise. Puyallup took full advantage of the call by scoring five runs before Lake could record the third out, and take a 10-6 lead.
So instead of going to the seventh inning with a one run lead, Lake needed four runs to keep their dream season alive and it wasn’t meant to be, as they were retired in order to end the game. Even though Lake was on the short end of some calls, they didn’t play their best baseball on a day where they clearly needed to. As they did all year, the Viking players and coaches showed great respect for the game by not losing their composure in the face of adversity and making the city of Lake Stevens proud.