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Kangs win district title, advance to state tournament | Prep baseball
Lake Washington High School starting pitcher John Lyon has frustrated batters all season. He is not known for high strikeout totals but he is known for getting batters out.
Nothing changed Saturday except the importance of the game, as the senior threw a complete game six-hitter to beat the Seahawks in Anacortes, 5-1, helping the Kangs win the district title.
"He is so consistent," Kangs head coach Derek Bingham said. "He keeps the ball down and in the zone. He just gives us a chance to win. We also played tremendous defense behind him."
The Lake Washington offense got on the board early, taking a 2-0 lead during the first inning with RBI singles by Lyon and senior Josh Wikel.
"It was nice to get out of the gates early," said Bingham, who credited his players with taking an assistant coach's scouting report and executing the game plan. "The guys really bought into our approach."
That lead was cut in half during the bottom of the inning, as Lyon gave up an unearned run on a passed ball. It would be the only run the Seahawks would score. He finished the game with six strikeouts, just one walk and 83 pitches during his seven innings of work.
"His ball moves so much that it is not easy to catch," Bingham said. "He was able to mix in his off speed stuff and pitched great."
Lake Washington gave Lyon a bigger lead during the fifth inning. A sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Jared Menssen scored Riley Simonson from third base. Back-to-back RBI singles by sophomores Kevin Nakahara and Jake Steele extended the Kangs lead to 5-1.
"We got good production out of the bottom of our order," said Bingham.
It was more than enough for Lyon, who escaped a fifth-inning jam.
Bingham said that his team also benefitted from eight walks, while Nakahara, Steele and Karsen Rogers all collected two hits during the game.
Bingham said that experience with games far from home last season prepared his team for the travel last weekend and will help with state-playoff contests this weekend.
"We have really come together as a team during the second half of the year," said Bingham. "I don't think there are too many things this team is not prepared for at this point."
Lake Washington finished the regular season with a record of 9-6 against 2A and 3A level teams. The Kangs are 14-9 overall this season.
The win against Anacortes moves Lake Washington into the state tournament for the first time since 2011. It is also the first time the team has been to the state tournament while playing at the class 2A level.
The Kangs will play North Kitsap at Cedarcrest High School in Duval at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Bingham said that he expects Lyon to start on the mound. With a win, Lake Washington will advance to play the winner of the Archbisop Murphy and Fife High School game during the 16 team loser-out tournament.