When the Wildcats finally took the lead, Lakewood was unable to do the same.
After trailing -- or tying the score -- most of the way, Archbishop Murphy took control of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Murphy scored a run on a Cougars' error and never trailed again, as the Wildcats defeated Lakewood 5-2 in the opening game of a three-game Cascade Conference series at Roman Miller Field.
"We have a philosophy that we want to win every inning," said Archbishop Murphy head coach Stan Taloff. "So regardless of what a team may score to start that inning, we want to come back and see if we can win that particular inning."
Lakewood struck first with runs in the top of the first and second innings, but the Wildcats immediately responded with runs of their own in the bottom halves of the first two innings. Archbishop Murphy's Trevor Morrison hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning and Camden Buchanan scored on a passed ball in the second.
"You can't be good when you're ahead and then just be a mediocre team when you get behind," Taloff said. "You have to play consistently all the way though because in baseball you're going to be ahead some of the time and some of the time you're going to be behind."
Both teams went scoreless in the third before Archbishop Murphy took its first lead in the fourth inning when Zander Clouse scored on an error.
The Wildcats (7-0 league, 8-1 overall) added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Clouse and Buchanan.
Clouse finished the game 2-for-3 with a run scored and Buchanan went 2-for-2 with a run scored.
"The main thing is for every guy to maximize his at bat opportunity and that's the best you can get out of them," Taloff said. "And if you do that you have good things happen like they happened today."
Morrison continued a strong season at the plate and a strong career against Lakewood. The senior shortstop finished 3-for-3 with a home run, two doubles, two runs scored and was intentionally walked.
Cougars head coach Larry Delaney said he won't miss having to pitch against Morrison, who has committed to play college baseball at Oregon State.
"He's torn us up. Over the last two years I think he's like 11-for-13 against us," Delaney said. "... He's a quality ballplayer and it's fun to watch him play. I'll miss that aspect but I won't miss him standing in the batter's box against us."
In the field, Taloff praised his senior battery of Derrick Mahlum and Alex Galgano. Mahlum held Lakewood scoreless over the final five innings -- and struck out the side in the seventh.
"(Mahlum) kept the ball down really well," Taloff said. "He was close to the zone. He was around the plate the whole time. They were swinging the bat. It was a gutsy performance because he threw over 100 pitches and battled all the way.
Galgano stopped several tough pitches from hitting the backstop and helped keep Lakewood from scoring on a suicide squeeze attempt.
".... I think Alex Galgano behind the plate was exceptional defensively," Taloff said. "Not only did he throw a guy out but he read the squeeze play and with Derrick throwing the ball down -- which we want him to do -- it puts a lot more pressure on your catcher to make sure you block the ball."
That rundown came in the top of the fifth, when Lakewood had a runner on third with one out. Delaney signaled for the suicide squeeze play but the Cougar batter was unable to get the bunt down, and baserunner Hunter Fritz was tagged out.
"We couldn't get any more out of those scoring opportunities. Against a good team like Murphy you're only going to have so many scoring opportunities," Delaney said. "We got runners out there we want to try to put the game in motion. We rolled the dice and it didn't work out for us."
Shortstop Matt Seiber went 2-for-3 with two stolen bases and a run scored for the Cougars (4-4, 4-5) who will host Murphy on Wednesday before closing out the three-game series on Friday at Archbishop Murphy. Today Lakewood has a makeup game against South Whidbey that was postponed because of inclement weather earlier in the season.
Delaney says the short turnaround between games will give the Cougars an opportunity to bounce back quickly.
"We have a makeup game against South Whidbey (today)," Delaney said. "That's the nice thing about baseball. It's not football. We don't have a week to wait around and think about it. We're right back at it."
At Roman Miller Field
Lakewood 110 000 0 -- 2 8 3
A. Murphy 110 120 x -- 5 9 1
Andrew Bean and Colby Jones. Derrick Mahlum and Alex Galgano. WP–Mahlum. LP–Bean. 2B–Hunter Fritz (L), Trevor Morrison (AM) 2, Tyler Klavdt (AM). HR–Morrison (AM). Records–Lakewood 4-4 league, 4-5 overall. Archbishop Murphy 7-0, 8-1.
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