The 2012 LSHS baseball team got off to a rough start before the season even began. In the second week of practice the Vikings temporarily lost standout Dylan LaVelle to injury, LaVelle has signed to play college ball for the Oregon State Beavers. But the Vikings have several key players returning from last year’s team, which tied for the Wesco North Championship.
On Tuesday, March13, in their season opening game at Mountlake Terrace, they demonstrated what kind of team they are. Several teammates played key roles in leading Lake to a 10-6 victory.
In the first inning, third baseman, Wade Curtis, led off with a sharp double into right centerfield. With two outs, Alex Koeplin hit a line drive home run to left center field giving the Vikings a early 2-0 lead. Koeplin finished the game with two hits and four RBI. Koeplin, also Lake’s starting pitcher, held MLT’s offense in check through four superb innings, giving up one run on one hit.
Lake took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning, where their only error of the game was costly to relief pitcher Kyle Cho, who should have been out of the inning with a 5-2 lead still intact, but instead Terrace tacked on a few more runs, gaining a 6-5 lead.
It stayed that way until the top of the seventh, a Viking rally started with a one out walk by second baseman Peter Ruiz and a sharp single by Sophomore Corey Bullens, putting runners on first and second base. With the runners put in motion, Christian Gasca executed a perfect hit and run with a single through the hole at short, scoring Ruiz and tying the game, on the play Bullens advanced to third with still only one out. Kevin Lanto, who came in to pitch the sixth inning, followed with a fielder’s choice to drive in the game winning RBI.
Lanto (1-0) got the win with two solid innings in relief. Senior RF Christian Shouman also contributed to the victory with two base hits.
The comeback win was a great way for Lake to start the season, especially with two key players sitting the game out.
The team beat the Jackson Timberwolves, who finished second in state last year, 7-1 on Friday, March 16 to run their early season record to 2-0.
Jackson opened the scoring in the top of the first inning with the help of a couple walks and an RBI double, to take a 1-0 lead.
The Vikings responded with two runs in the bottom of the second. Anthony Blackie led the inning off with a walk, followed by Bullens who came in to pinch run for him, and Jake Nelson laid down a sac bunt moving him to second base. Gasca followed with a sharp single to left field and went to second when the throw from Jackson’s left fielder went to home plate. With runners on second and third, Logan Merrill drove them both home with a two RBI single. Merrill finished the game two for three with three RBI.
Lake scored two more runs in the third inning when sophomore Branden Kelliher singled back up the middle with one out and Blackie came up with a two out RBI single, followed by Nelson with a RBI double off the center field fence to make the score 4-1.
On Monday, March 19 the Viking baseball team rode great pitching and the second HR in as many games from senior right fielder Christian Shouman to a 5-0 victory.
Starting pitcher Alex Koeplin had his second straight solid outing to earn the win. The lefty hurler pitched four innings keeping the Central Kitsap hitters off balance before leaving the mound with a 2-0 advantage.
Lake built that 2-0 lead in the bottom half of the third inning when lead off hitter, Wade Curtis, got hit by a pitch and one out later Shouman connected with a pitch, sending it over the left field fence.
Pitcher Bullens breezed through an easy top of the fifth inning and Lake nearly broke the game open in the bottom half. Walks to Nelson and Bullens sandwiched around a Shouman single, loaded the bases with one out, but they could not capitalize on the opportunity.
Cho came in and pitched a scoreless sixth inning to protect the Vikings slim lead.
Once again, in the bottom of the sixth, Lake loaded the bases. Gasca led the inning off with a bunt that hugged the third base foul line for a base hit, his second base hit of the game. Kelliher followed with a sac bunt to move Gasca into scoring position, but when the catcher’s throw pulled the first baseman off the bag, Kelliher was safe at first.
Ty Partington followed with a walk to load the bases. This time Lake did not squander the opportunity. Jake Nelson lined the first pitch he saw into left center to score two runs. Shouman followed with a sac fly, his third RBI of the game, for a 5-0 lead.
Lanto closed out his third game in a row and Lake’s third straight victory, with a scoreless seventh inning.
Partington drew a two out walk and third baseman Wade Curtis drove him home with a RBI double in the fourth to tack on another run for the Vikings.
Coach Rodger Anderson used four pitchers in the game, as they continue to build arm strength early in the season. Blackie started and went the first two innings. Kelliher and Nelson followed with two scoreless innings apiece. Lanto closed out the game with a scoreless seventh.
Shouman hit a long HR off the batting cage beyond the left field fence in the bottom of the fifth to cap the scoring.
Lake Stevens 10, Meadowdale 1.
Lake rolls to fourth straight victory behind 15 hits from the offense and three pitchers combining to give up one run on one hit.
Blackie (3 inn), Kelliher (3 inn.) and Lanto silenced the Meadowdale bats, as Curtis, Merrill and Gasca had three hits each.
The Vikings open league play on Wednesday, March 28, at home against the Monroe Bearcats. 4 p.m. first pitch.