LAKE STEVENS — Sometimes all you need is a little luck.
Down 1-0 with two outs in the top of the fifth inning, the Jackson Timberwolves rallied with two runs and held on to beat Lake Stevens 3-2 in a nonleague baseball game on Friday.
The hit that sparked the rally was nothing more than a bloop-single over that just cleared the head of the Lake Stevens first baseman that Jackson’s Keynan Foster appeared to be trying to fight off in order to stay alive in his at bat.
“We got fisted on a really good pitch and it went over the first baseman’s head,” Jackson head coach Kirk Nicholson said. “We got lucky. It was a really good pitch by the pitcher. We ‘excuse me’ hit and it goes right over the first baseman’s head and we got lucky. That’s all that was. That’s baseball though.”
Tyler Wingert scored on the hit by Foster to tie the score at a run a piece. Foster advanced to second after the Vikings’ throw home to get Wingert was late.
Alex Baumgartner scored Foster with an RBI single to straight-away center field in the next at bat to give Jackson a 2-1 lead.
Three of Jackson’s eight hits came in the top of the fifth inning.
Lake Stevens answered in the bottom of the fifth inning when Zach Tetrick scored on a wild pitch to tie the game, but the Timberwolves would give themselves opportunities to retake the lead in the sixth and seventh inning.
The Vikings were able to hold off Jackson after back-to-back singles to lead off the top of the sixth inning, though they weren’t as lucky in the top of the seventh.
Foster led off the inning and was hit by a pitch by Nick Hoskins, the Vikings’ fifth pitcher of the game. After stealing second base, Foster took third on a groundout by Baumgartner and scored on a single by Alex Cheesman.
Hoskins managed to hold the damage to just one run, but it proved to be enough as Jackson’s Alec Anderson retired the Vikings 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh to earn his first save of the season.
“I thought we made some real positive plays,” Nicholson said. “In baseball, that’s all it is. Your positive plays have got to overcome your negative plays.”
For both coaches, the game served as an opportunity to get their teams ready for the league season. Nicholson and Lake Stevens head coach Rodger Anderson each played all of their players and a total of eight players pitched in the game.
“We wanted to try some guys to see how they respond to the varsity level,” Anderson said. “We are just kind of seeing what some of the younger guys can do. We wanted to see today because we knew Jackson would be a pretty good team.”
Anderson said the Vikings situational hitting needs work. Without a lineup packed with power, Lake Stevens will rely on a “small-ball” approach to score runs. In the first two games of the season for the Vikings, Anderson said his team’s bunting and base running could be better.
“We’re substituting a lot of guys,” Anderson said. “Everybody played today. In a different situation maybe we would have someone that can pinch hit or bunt.
“I learned a long time ago these preseason games are an opportunity to find out who can do what.”
And for Jackson, it’s also an opportunity to have a little fun.
“If you can’t come out and compete right now then you don’t have blood pumping through you,” Nicholson said. “This is that time of year that it’s fun. There’s no pressure here. We aren’t playing for a playoff berth or any of that stuff, we’re just playing. As a kid, all your life, that’s all you really wanted to do, isn’t it? So you better overcome it and just enjoy yourself.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at email@example.com.
At Lake Stevens H.S.
Jackson 000 020 1 — 3 8 0
Lake Stevens 001 010 0 — 2 7 1
Steven Ainsworth, Tyler Wingert (4), Alec Anderson (7) and Alex Kiel. Corey Bullens, Taylor Shea (4), Sam Pyzer (5), Jeff Sevey (5), Nick Hoskins (7) and Matt Del Fante, Cody Vigoren (5). WP—Wingert (1-0). LP—Hoskins (1-1). S–Anderson (1). 2B—Aaron Avalos (J). Records—Jackson 1-1. Lake Stevens 1-1.
Jack Collins, Sr.
Justin Brown, Jr.
Branden Kelliher, Sr.
Corey Bullens, Sr.
Gavin O’Neil, Sr.
Nick Hoskins, Jr.
Skyler Swords, Jr.
Jacob Eason, So.
Aron Finholt, Jr.
Ty Stacey, Jr.
Taylor Shea, Sr.
Matt Del Fante, Sr.
Tyler Billings, So.
Zach Tetrick, Sr.
Sam Pyzer, So.
Jeffery Sevey, Sr.
Joey Palmieri, Sr.
Cody Vigoren, Jr.