After finishing fourth over the past two years when the district sent three teams, the Cougars lost to Anacortes 6-2 on Saturday in a winner-to-state game at Janicki Fields.
“We're just knocking on the door and can't break through,” said Lakewood head coach Steve Barker. “It hurts, but I'm really proud of them.”
Anacortes' Writer sisters were a big reason Lakewood is headed home. Brooke Writer limited Lakewood's explosive offense to just two runs, knocked in a run with a single, and sister Amber finished 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBI to lead the Seahawks to the win.
After Amber Writer's home run gave Anacortes a 3-0 lead, Lakewood battled back. An infield single by Jennaka Larson scored Alexis Lampinen in the fourth inning and Kiana Smith smashed home run in the fifth inning as the Cougars cut the lead to 3-2.
But in the bottom of the fifth inning, a leadoff walk and two straight RBI singles helped Anacortes rebuild its lead to three runs. It could have been worse, however, as Anacortes had the bases loaded, but Lakewood starter Hailey Malakowski struck out the final two batters to end the threat. Malakowski, a junior, finished with five strikeouts to lead the Cougars.
Trailing 5-2, Lakewood threatened in the sixth when Peyton Cook and Jynette Blanchard both singled to put runners on with one out. But Brooke Writer coaxed back-to-back groundouts to finish the inning.
Lakewood loses just two seniors on this year's team, but they're important ones. Cascade Conference's reigning most valuable player Smith and Larson will both be gone to graduation.
“They are four-year starters,” Barker said. “Jennaka is our backup pitcher and a good utility player for us. Of course Kiana is special. I've been doing this 35 years and I don't know if I've had a more all-around player when you consider attitude and leadership and defense.”
At Janicki Fields
Lakewood 000 110 0 — 2 8 3
Anacortes 021 021 x — 6 10 2
Brooke Writer and Aubrey Costanza. Hailey Malakowski and Jenna Melton. WP—Writer. LP—Malakowski. 2B—Kayla Matthews (A), Amber Writer (A). HR—Amber Writer, Kiana Smith (L). Records—Lakewood 13-10 overall. Anacortes 16-7.
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