Lake Stevens’ Wyatt Queen goes the distance in a win over Jackson on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Lake Stevens’ Wyatt Queen goes the distance in a win over Jackson on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Lake Stevens baseball tops Jackson to set up league-title tilt

Wesco 4A’s top two teams split the first two games of a three-game series and Friday’s contest will decide the league crown.

LAKE STEVENS — It took the Lake Stevens High School baseball team until the fourth inning to connect on its first base hit Wednesday against Jackson, but it was just enough to propel the Vikings to a much-needed league victory.

After suffering a 10-0 loss to the Timberwolves on Tuesday, Lake Stevens adjusted and sent Jackson away with a 5-3 win in the second night of back-to-back games. With the result, Game 3 of the series between the two squads will now serve as a de facto Wesco 4A regular-season title game, which will be held at 4 p.m. Friday at Jackson High School.

“We had a rough one against these guys yesterday,” Lake Stevens coach Josh White said. “It was really about trying to get back to who we are, not trying to get too big for the moment.”

The Vikings went just 3-for-19 at the plate and drew six walks, but senior ace Wyatt Queen came up big on the mound. Queen pitched a full game, delivering six strikeouts with no walks and one earned run across 84 pitches.

“He’s been awesome all year long,” White said of Queen. “He’s a mid-to-upper 80s guy for us, and more than that, he’s a competitor. He’s a guy that wants the ball in these situations and he wants to go.”

In the bottom of the fourth, Lake Stevens (14-5, 7-1 Wesco 4A) found itself down 1-0 before a bunt from sophomore shortstop Aspen Alexander helped get the Vikings on the board.

Alexander’s bunt was inches in front of home plate and set the table for a three-run inning as Lake Stevens went into the fifth frame ahead 3-1.

In the fifth, the Vikings kept putting pressure on Jackson sophomore pitcher Sam Craig (four strikeouts, five walks), who had been handling Lake Stevens batters in the opening three innings.

A Jackson error at first base advanced Vikings batters to second and third, setting up a sacrifice fly from junior Cody Osterholtz which scored senior TK Perkins to boost Lake Stevens ahead 4-1.

After an RBI single from senior Seth Mahler (1-for-2), the Vikings took a 5-1 lead entering the sixth, where they continued to execute on the defensive side.

A double play and a flyout got Lake Stevens into the final frame in a blur.

“We cleaned it up a lot today,” White said. “Again, the other day it was guys getting outside of themselves and guys trying to do so much. Today, we took the odds that were given to us. They got a couple runs on us, but as long as we do that we’ll come out on top.”

The Wolves (16-2, 7-1), had one more run left in them in an attempt to squeeze back into things. In the seventh, Jackson junior Sean Bang provided a two-RBI single to keep his team within arms reach.

In the end, Queen fanned Jackson’s last batter, putting his final imprints on the outing.

“I just wanted to come out, show up and do my thing and let our team do our thing,” Queen said. “I feel like we all did our job really well. … We got a hit and just kept on going, I feel like this gives us a lot of momentum moving forward.”

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