Blackie delivers as Lake Stevens baseball beats MP

LAKE STEVENS — Through nearly seven innings Thursday, Marysville Pilchuck and Lake Stevens had not scored a single run off a hit.

Anthony Blackie not only changed that with one swing of his bat, he also ended the battle between the Wesco North’s baseball powers.

Blackie delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Vikings a 3-2 victory over the Tomahawks and keep Lake Stevens unbeaten this season. The loss was just Maryville Pilchuck’s second of the season and first in North Division play.

Blackie started the game as the Vikings’ pitcher, throwing five innings and giving up just one hit. However, he struggled with this command at times, walking six batters — which caused his pitch total to get too high. He was replaced on the mound after the fifth inning.

With the score tied 2-2 and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Jake Nelson singled to left field bringing up Dylan Lavelle. The Vikings then showed that they were poised to re-enter Blackie into the game, sending him to the on-deck circle. After Nelson stole second, the Tomahawks decided to intentionally walk Lavelle. The stage was set for Blackie.

“I was excited to get back out there,” Blackie said. “I was like, ‘put me in coach, I’m ready to get a hit.’

“… It’s nice to have Dylan there. But when he gets walked that just fuels the fire for me I just want to get up there and hit the ball.”

Blackie may have had the big hit, but both sides’ pitching was the story of the game.

Blackie struck out five during his time on the mound and Lake Stevens’ relievers picked up where he left off. Branden Kelliher and Kevin Lanto pitched the next two innings, respectively, and neither gave up a hit.

For the Tomahawks, Jake Johnson pitched a complete game, allowing six hits and striking out six while walking four batters and hitting another.

“It was a good high school baseball game,” Lake Stevens assistant coach Michael Hodgins said. “It was a pitchers’ battle. Both guys hit their pitches and you saw some ugly at-bats because the pitchers were throwing strikes and changing speed and moving location. It wasn’t like Little League where it’s fastball, fastball, curveball, you’re out.

“It was mix and match and get them off balance — both guys.”

The Tomahawks scored first. Brandon Dormaier led off the top of the second inning with an infield hit, Marysville’s lone hit of the game. He advanced to second when the next batter, Kacey Walker, reached on an error by Blackie. Blackie then struck out Brandon Moser, but walked Blake Stober to load the bases with one out. The next batter, Jake Luton, also walked to give the Tomahawks a 1-0 lead.

Blackie regained his control and retired the next two batters to end the threat.

The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Vikings got to Johnson. Alex Koeplin knocked in Christian Shouman with an infield single to tie the score with one out, but things got wild from there.

The inning ended with a bizarre play that took several minutes to sort out. The end result, however, a 2-1 Vikings’ lead 2-1 going into the fifth inning.

The strange turn of events went like this.

With two outs, Wade Curtis walked on a wild pitch and MP’s catcher retreated to the backstop to try and retrieve the ball while the Vikings’ Logan Merrill came charging toward home plate from third base. The catcher’s throw to Johnson, who was covering home, was errant and sailed up the line to the third baseman.

Koeplin, who had taken third on the wild pitch, tried to score on the catcher’s throwing error. A throw home by Stober at third base was in time, but the Vikings coaching staff questioned if a tag was applied. After several minutes of discussion, the umpires determined a tag had been made and the inning was over.

The Tomahawks fought back in the top of the seventh, tying the score 2-2 on a sacrifice-fly by Kyle Nobach.

“That was poetic justice,” Hodgins said of Blackie’s game-winning hit. “You know he is at his pitch limit, maybe even a couple past, but he had kind of begged to extend and stay in the game.

“He didn’t want to come out of the game, but he comes out of the game and now he gets to re-enter and hit, and that was pretty sweet as far as karma or poetic justice or whatever you want to call it. It was neat that it was him after the game that he threw.”

After the game, Tomahawks coach Kurt Koshelnik said it was a great battle and that he was proud of the way his team played in its first league loss.

“It was a great battle between two good teams,” Koshelnik said. “As I was just telling the guys, do we like to lose? Absolutely not. But we have nothing to be ashamed of there. You know, Lake Stevens came out and beat us today and we’ve got a good shot at them tomorrow. In our mind that is how we get better, playing those good teams.

“I was really impressed with my guys. Apart from being really impressed with Lake Stevens — they are a good club. Guys threw together really good at-bats for us against a real talented pitching staff over there. … Jake Johnson on the mound went the whole distance and just battled the whole time.”

The same two teams meet today at 4 p.m. at Marysville Pilchuck High School.

At Lake Stevens H.S.

Marysville Pilchuck0100001—212

Lake Stevens0002001—362

Jake Johnson and Kacey Walker. Anthony Blackie, Branden Kelliher (6), Kevin Lanto (7). WP—Lanto (2-0). LP—Johnson. Records—Marysville Pilchuck 6-1 league, 9-2 overall. Lake Stevens 7-0, 12-0.

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