By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
ANACORTES — Before Tuesday’s district semifinal game between Archbishop Murphy and Lake Washington, a fan approached Wildcats head coach Stan Taloff and remarked that with the beautiful sunny weather the teams should “play two.”
Well, they did.
In a game that saw more than 115 batters come up to the plate in 14 innings of action, the Kangaroos from Kingco got an RBI double from Jordan Lafave in the top of the 14th inning and then held on in the bottom half of the inning to beat Archbishop Murphy 3-2 in a 2A District 1/2 semifinal game at Daniels Field.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a game that long before,” Taloff joked after the game. “Our guys gave it everything they had and just came up short today.”
Archbishop Murphy plays Cedarcrest in a winner-to-state consolation semifinal game on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Anacortes. Lake Washington, which advances to state with the win, plays Anacortes in the district championship game at 2 p.m. at Daniels Field in Anacortes.
In the top of the 14th, with darkness finally starting to descend on a game that started at 5 p.m., Archbishop Murphy committed its third error of the game to allow the leadoff batter aboard. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second, but a flyout to left field gave Lake Washington two outs with Lafave coming up. The diminutive shortstop smashed a drive that cleared the mitt of center fielder Steve Papagayo and easily scored the runner from second.
In the bottom half of the 14th, LW reliever Ryan Horita allowed a one-out single to Conner Longoria, who advanced to second on a throwing error. But Horita struck out the next two Murphy batters to end the marathon game.
“They mixed up their pitches and mixed up their speeds,” Taloff said of the Kangs’ pitchers. “Unfortunately we had chances to win the game before the seventh inning and we didn’t. That’s baseball.”
Archbishop Murphy starter Conner Sand dabbled in trouble for much of the game, but only gave up one run in the first seven innings — a home run to Lake Washington’s Josh Wikel. Sand struck out five batters and left nine runners on base.
“He changed his speeds well against a good team and never lost heart,” Taloff said of Sand. “He stayed right out there and did what he needed to do. We made a few plays behind him, but for the most part did a fabulous job of keeping them off balance.”
Tied at 1 in the top of the ninth, Lake Washington took advantage of a leadoff bloop single to score its second run of the game. After singling, Court Osborn moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and stole third. Jared Menssen hit a towering fly to right field to score Osborn and give Lake Washington its first lead of the game.
But Archbishop Murphy answered back in the bottom of the ninth to keep its title hopes alive. Curtis Ponton reached on an error, stole second and then was moved over to third base on a bunt single by Steve Papagayo. Next up, Ryan Dorney hit into a fielder’s choice to score Ponton from third and tie the score.
There were a total of just 18 hits in the game as starters, Murphy’s Sand and Lake Washington’s Connor Johnson, worked past the seventh inning. There were six errors in the game, but that was a poor represtentation of how well both teams played defense, especially the Wildcats, who got a number of diving catches and great plays in the infield to snuff out rallies.
At Daniels Field
L. Washington 000 100 001 01 — 3 11 3
A. Murphy 010 000 001 00 — 2 7 3
Conner Sand, Evan Haugen (10) and Ernie Gamboa. Connor Johnson, Jake Masters (8), Ryan Horita (10) and Benson Hull. WP—Horita. LP—Haugen (3-2). 2B—Kevin Nakamara (LW), Jordan LaFave (LW). HR—Josh Wikel (LW). Records—Lake Washington x-x. Archbishop Murphy 14-8.