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Cougars collapse in loss to Sultan
LAKEWOOD The lead swung back and forth like a pendulum, but in the end, the Lakewood baseball team gave up eight runs in the seventh inning allowing Sultan to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, pulling off a 15-11 win April 6 at Lakewood High School.
The visitors grabbed an early lead as three runners crossed home in the top of the first inning, but Lakewood battled back with runs from sophomore second baseman Jordan Stauffer in the first and third innings.
Stauffers second hit, a grounder toward right field, was responsible for batting in senior catcher T.J. Regan and junior outfielder Fabrice Lays. Senior first baseman Ryan Martin had a third inning double to set up Stauffers second run, but was unable to advance further when shortstop Marcus Harkins was halted at first base.
The Cougars held their lead defensively in the fourth inning, forcing Sultan to go three and out. Lakewood then added to its lead as a Sultan error at first base gave junior slugger Collin Murphy the single as well as the two RBI third baseman Josh Gwyther and Regan. Murphy then proceeded to steal second, third and home, to put the Cougars up 7-3.
In the top of the fifth with bases loaded, the umpire at home plate walked in two Sultan runners to close the gap to two runs, calling interference on Regans play at home and saying the Lakewood catchers glove was too near the Sultan swings, hindering their hits.
The Cougars again fought back at the plate, as Gwyther had two RBI in the bottom of the fifth and Martin, outfielder Jesse Etchey and designated hitter Jon Brown all ran in for a 10-5 score to start the sixth inning.
Defensive errors set Sultan up for two more sixth-inning runs until a strikeout from junior pitcher Max Dragitch and a double play of Gwyther to second baseman Josh Spears to Martin halted Sultan at seven game runs.
Murphy stole home for a second time during the sixth inning, accumulating Lakewoods 11th and final run.
It should have been enough.
Instead seven different Sultan runners crossed home plate to earn eight runs before a fly ball to center fielder Murphy put the Cougar defense out of its misery.
Brutal and disappointing were a couple of the words Lakewood assistant coach Jeremiah Wohlgemuth used to describe the loss.
Going into that last inning 11-7, we should be concentrating on getting that 21st out, Wohlgemuth said, adding that getting the final three outs has proven a mental challenge for the players.
Max Dragitch put us in a good position where we coulda, shoulda won the game, he added.
Wohlgemuth said he hopes the team is able to shake off the loss with a bye week and capitalize on their strengths at the plate when they face potential playoff foes Blaine and Burlington-Edison in their next games.
At Lakewood H.S.
Lakewood 1 0 3 3 3 1 0 11
Sultan 3 0 0 0 2 2 8 15