The Cougars made it four straight contests with double digit scoring and four consecutive wins after Wednesday's 10-8 victory over Archbishop Murphy.
The result clinched Lakewood a 2A district berth and kept the Cougars in the race for the Cascade Conference's No. 1 seed.
Terah Barrio and Maddie Holmes each went 3-for-4 to spearhead Lakewood's 15-hit attack.
The Cougars took advantage of the absence of Murphy's usual starting pitcher, Baylee Robertson, due to illness. That forced freshman Megan Ehlebracht into action. Still, Lakewood coach Steve Barker was impressed with the Wildcats' performance without their ace.
"Under the circumstances. . .it's usually a let down, but they didn't play like a letdown," said Barker. "They put constant pressure and swung the bats really well. They're a well-coached team."
Lakewood spotted Murphy a 2-0 lead before scoring five runs in the bottom of the third. Kiana Smith, Hailey Malakowski and Jennaka Larson each hit RBI singles in the inning.
Murphy rallied for four in the fourth with Maureen Kelly and Jessica Lucas each hitting two-run singles to retake the lead at 6-5.
But Lakewood responded on Terah Barrio's RBI triple in the bottom of the frame and Barrio also scored on the play after a throwing error to make the score 7-6. Lakewood would not reliquish the lead, adding three more runs in the sixth.
Kelly led the Wildcats offense, going 3-for-5 with three RBI, and Gemma Miller also had three hits. The Wildcats couldn't fully take advantage of seven Lakewood errors and stranded 12 runners, two in each of the first six innings. Barker credited Malakowski, who picked up her 13th win of the season, for limiting the damage.
"She's been solid, she really gets tough when she needs to," said Barker.
Lakewood (12-3 league, 13-4 overall) now trails Cedarcrest (13-3, 14-3) by one game in the win column, but holds the tiebreaker by taking two of three from the Red Wolves in the season series. The Cougars have a double-header against Granite Falls on Friday before ending the season against Sultan next Tuesday.
"We control our own destiny, but we have a tough schedule the rest of the way," said Barker. "We need to win out. We have to continue to swing the bats well, top to bottom through the order and we need to clean up the errors."
At Lakewood H.S.
Archbishop Murphy 011 400 2--8 10 2
Lakewood 005 203 x--10 15 7
Megan Ehlebracht and Alyson Matriotti. Hailey Malakowski and Mikayla Holmes. WP--Malakowski (13-3). LP--Ehlebracht. 2B--Kiana Smith (L), Jennaka Larson (L). 3B--Gemma Miller (AM), Terah Barrio (L). Records--Archbishop Murphy 6-8 league, 6-10 overall. Lakewood 12-3, 13-4.
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