Lake Stevens baseball lost their first game of the season on Wednesday, April 18, after fourteen straight victories. The Vikings fell to the Stanwood Spartans 3-2 in extra innings.
Anthony Blackie pitched the first six innings, giving up zero runs on four hits while striking out twelve.
Taylor Shea relieved Blackie in the seventh and Stanwood scored two runs to tie the game and sent it into extra innings. In the bottom of the eight, Stanwood loaded the bases with no outs and followed with a suicide squeeze bunt to score the winning run.
Unfortunately for Lake, a blown call by the home plate umpire cost them at least one run in the fifth inning. After consecutive walks to Jake Nelson, Blackie and Dylan LaVelle loaded the bases with one out, Logan Merrill hit a ground ball to first base and the throw home to get the force out, took the catcher a couple steps up the third base line and off his feet to make the catch.
Somehow, the umpire called the runner out at home. So instead of a run in and the bases still loaded with one out, Stanwood got the next out and escaped without giving up a run.
Lake 11 Stanwood 0
The Vikings responded to their first loss of the season by pounding the Spartans 11-0 in a five and one half inning game, shortened by the ten run mercy rule.
Alex Koeplin continued his dominate pitching by blanking Stanwood on three hits in his six innings of work.
Koeplin has given up only two runs in 31 innings pitched this season, for an earned run average of 0.45.
Teammate Anthony Blackie is right behind him, giving up two earned runs in 28 innings pitched for a 0.50 ERA.
Nelson, Blackie and Christian Shouman each had two hits to lead the way for The Viking offense.
Shouman hit his fifth home run of the season with one out and one runner on base in the sixth, to make the score 11-0 and end the game.
Lake 15 Stanwood 5
The Vikings scored fifteen runs on fourteen hits to win game three of the three game series against Stanwood. For the second game in a row, the game was shortened to six innings by the ten run rule.
Peter Ruiz and Anthony Blackie each went 3-4 with three RBI to lead the way for Lake Stevens. Wade Curtis and Dylan LaVelle also had two hits apiece.
Jake Nelson, Branden Kelliher, Kyle Cho and Kevin Lanto combined to strike out sixteen Stanwood batters on the day.
Nelson, making his first pitching start for the Vikings, struggled with his control in the first inning. He gave up one run on four walks, but ended up striking out the side in the first and second innings.
Kelliher pitched three scoreless innings, striking out seven, to earn the win. Cho and Lanto combined to pitch the sixth and close out the game.
Lake is now 11-1 in league play and 16-1 overall, with a three game series to play against Snohomish ( 9-3, 11-6) to decide the Wesco North title.
Lake 9 Snohomish 6
In the first of a three game series which will go a long ways in determining the seeding in the district playoffs, the Vikings prevailed 9-6. With the win, they clinched at least a tie for the Wesco North championship.
Snohomish jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first with the help of three base on balls and only one hit off Lake Stevens starter Anthony Blackie.
Dylan LaVelle cut that lead in half with a opposite field solo home run, his first of the season, in the bottom of the first.
Jake Nelson gave the Vikings the lead for good in the second inning with a grand slam home run to make the score 5-2. With the bases loaded and a 2-0 count on him, Nelson got the pitch he was looking for and sent it over the fence in dead center field.
Snohomish added one run in the top of the third on a lead off double, to cut the lead to 5-3. Wade Curtis got that run back and more with a two RBI triple in the bottom half of the inning. Curtis finished the game with three hits in five at bats.
Blackie, making his first sub-par start on the season, got chased from the game in the fourth with two more runs. Branden Kelliher came in and got a double play grounder from the first batter he faced to get the Viks out of a jam and protect a 7-5 lead.
Peter Ruiz continued his recent hot hitting with a two out, two RBI double in the bottom of the fourth to give Lake breathing room once again. Ruiz finished the day two for two and also walked twice.
Kelliher struck out the side in the fifth inning and pitched the final three and two third innings to earn the win for the second game in a row. He gave up one run on two hits, while striking out six.
With one win in the next two games, or a Marysville loss, the Vikings (12-1, 17-1) will win the Wesco North championship outright.
Lake Stevens will open the district playoffs at home on Saturday, May 5th at 3pm against the Wesco South #4 seed. Win or lose, they will also play at home on Monday the 7th at 4pm.