In Tuesday's Wesco 4A South game against Edmonds-Woodway, his team proved him right.
Sophomore Chase Hacker, the Royals' No. 9 hitter, accounted for five of his team's runs on two doubles to lead the Royals to an 8-6 victory over the Warriors in the first game of a three-game series.
"He came out and saw his fastball and he was on time with it," Villalobos said. "He ripped two doubles in a gap with runners on. He kind of set the tone for us today."
The first of Hacker's doubles in the top of the second inning scored two runs and the second in the top of the sixth scored three. Both doubles came with the bases loaded.
With Lynnwood already leading 1-0, Edmonds-Woodway starting pitcher Brady Edwards walked the bases loaded to lead off the top of the second inning. Hacker capitalized with the first of his two doubles, scoring two runs to give the Royals a 3-0 lead.
Lynnwood would add another run on an error to take a four-run lead before the Warriors finally retired the side.
The lead didn't last long. Edmonds-Woodway scored two runs in the second inning and four in the fourth to take a 6-4 lead.
It was a welcome sign to see his team respond to adversity, but Edmonds-Woodway head coach Dan Somoza was frustrated his team spotted Lynnwood four runs.
"We shouldn't have allowed the four (runs) in the first place," Edmonds-Woodway head coach Somoza said. "We weren't there the whole game. Great teams are there for seven innings. Good teams like Lynnwood will take advantage of that and they did."
The Royals got one run back in the top of the fifth inning to cut the deficit to one at 6-5 before regaining the lead in the top of the sixth.
Once again, walks proved to be the problem for the Warriors.
After retiring the first batter to lead off the top of the sixth inning, Edmonds-Woodway relief pitcher Austin Whitehouse walked the bases full again. Whitehouse struck out the next batter for the second out of the inning, but that brought up Hacker, who doubled to left-center field to score all three runners.
"I just wanted to help my team out by getting the runs in," Hacker said after the game.
Hacker finished the game 4-for-4 with two singles, two doubles and five RBI. Royals freshman Kyler McMahan continued his productive start to the season, finishing 2-for-5 with two doubles.
All five of the runners who scored on Hacker's doubles reached base via walk.
"We did walk (a lot of batters), but Lynnwood is a great team," Somoza said. "They came out and hit the ball in clutch situations and made us pay for our mistakes. That's what good teams do."
Villlalobos was happy with the patience his team showed at the plate.
"We waited them out," Villalobos said. "We didn't swing at really bad pitches. I wish we were a little bit more aggressive in some situations, but for the most part they had good approaches at the plate today and they were pretty disciplined."
After Hacker gave Lynnwood the lead back, junior Carson Hoerner, who entered the game in relief of starter Ryan Tsuji in the fourth inning, gave up just one hit in the final two innings to pick up the win in his first pitching appearance of the season.
"He came and battled," Villalobos said. "He's a bulldog competitor. He got a lot of guys out and he did a great job for us."
It was a game the Warriors could have won, but they still have two more opportunities against the Royals this week, facing them today at Lynnwood and again on Friday at Edmonds-Woodway.
"Tomorrow is a new day and that's the great thing about baseball," Somoza said. "Our goal is to win every series and there are still two games left."
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Edmonds-Woodway H.S.
Lynnwood 130 013 0 — 8 9 4
E-W 020 400 0 — 6 8 2
Ryan Tsuji, Carson Hoerner (4) and Brady Girgus. Brady Edwards, Austin Whitehouse (3), Austinvaughn Jones (6) and Tate Budnick. WP–Hoerner (1-0). LP–Whitehouse (0-1). 2B–Carson Hoerner (L), Kyler McMahan (L) 2, Chase Hacker (L) 2, Garrison Krohn (E-W) 2, Tate Budnick (E-W), Brandon Mitchell (E-W), Mac McLachlan (E-W). Record –Lynnwood 1-1 league, 5-1 overall. Edmonds-Woodway 0-2, 2-5.
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