After losing 14-0 to the No.9-ranked-in-state Edmonds-Woodway Warriors the day before, Lynnwood Royals Coach Fraser Dizard knew he might have to pull out all the stops to find a way to defeat E-W on Wednesday.
Dizard and the Royals pushed the Warriors for seven innings, but ultimately succumbed after trying a daring steal of home that resulted in the final out of the game.
E-W held on to claim a 3-2 victory over Lynnwood in a Wesco League 2A/3A South Conference match-up played Wednesday at Mountlake Terrace High School.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning, Lynnwood senior Kyler McMahan attempted to steal home on Edmonds-Woodway reliever Kosta Cooper to tie the game. But Cooper got the ball to E-W catcher Garrison Krohn in plenty of time for Krohn to effectively block the plate and apply the tag to a sliding McMahan to end the game.
Although Dizard ran down to the home plate area from the third base coaching box to argue the call, his protest went for naught, and the teams shook hands to end the contest.
After the game Dizard, who had been coaching from the third base coaching box, explained it was McMahan who actually convinced him to allow the steal attempt.
“We’ve been having a really hard time scoring runs this year and I figured, hey, what a fun way to either win it – or actually tie it – and go into extra (innings),” Dizard said. “And if he was confident enough to try it, I said go for it.”
The final play of the ballgame was actually the second time in the contest that the Warriors were able to tag out McMahan at the plate. In the fifth inning, McMahan – an Oregon State University commit – attempted to score from second base off a Jared Whitman single but was tagged before being able to touch home with his right hand.
The two missed chances to score by McMahan were indicative of Lynnwood’s overall inability to come up with the big play when needed on Wednesday.
“We definitely had our opportunities to win,” Dizard acknowledged. “We had some chances to get big hits and score runs but we didn’t. We had some chances to make some pretty routine plays out in the field but we didn’t make them.”
“I tell the guys every day that it’s going to come down to one or two plays, especially when you play a good team,” Dizard continued. “You’ve got to make the routine plays and we didn’t make the plays that we need to and we didn’t get the hits.”
Edmonds-Woodway’s Ian Michael earned the win by pitching six innings, giving up two runs on eight hits, walking three and striking out three. Cooper came in and pitched the nail-biting seventh inning to close out the game, but not before the Royals had threatened to come back.
After getting base runners on first and second with no outs in the seventh, Lynnwood’s Jared Whitman popped a bunt attempt into the air; Cooper was able spring from the mound, snag the pop-up, then throw to first base and catch the Royals’ Connor Combs straying too far from the bag to complete a double play.
Later in the inning, Lynnwood was able to load the bases with two outs, but McMahan’s unsuccessful attempt to steal home ended the game.
Despite the final innings dramatics – or perhaps because of it – Cooper was all smiles after the contest.
“I love being in tense situations like that; it’s my favorite. It makes you have to compete and be the best ball player you can be,” Cooper said.
Cooper walked two batters – one intentionally – and hit another in the seventh inning, but did enough to earn the save for the Warriors.
The E-W senior has high expectations for his squad, now 10-1 in 2A/3A Wesco League South Conference, 10-3 overall and 9th in the 3A state rankings by washingtonbaseballpoll.com.
“I think we’re going to be state champions. I believe it,” Cooper said. “We have the talent to do it. I love each and every one of these kids. It’s awesome; it’s a lot of fun this year.”
Prep Baseball: Lynnwood vs. Edmonds-Woodway, Apr. 19
Lynnwood 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 — 2 8 1
Edmonds-W 0 1 0 0 2 0 x — 3 9 1
Winning pitcher: Ian Michael (Edmonds-Woodway)
Losing pitcher: Jared Whitman (Lynnwood)
Records: Lynnwood 4-7 in 2A/3A Wesco League South Conference, 7-7 overall; Edmonds-Woodway 10-1 in 2A/3A Wesco League South Conference, 10-3 overall
Lynnwood next game: versus Stanwood, Friday, April 21, 6 p.m. at Lynnwood High School
Edmonds-Woodway next game: versus Marysville-Getchell, Friday, April 21, 4 p.m. at Marysville-Pilchuck High School
— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski