In a battle to stay alive in the 3A KingCo baseball tournament, crosstown rivals Lake Washington and Juanita gave the Bannerwood Park diamond a workout on May 6.
The locals delivered 18 runs and 19 hits in the loser-out contest, with LW snagging a 12-6 victory. The Kangs (20-2 overall) will next play Interlake at 6 p.m. May 8 at Bannerwood while the Rebels’ season is over with a 9-13 overall record.
“We had to fight. We had a meeting after that tough loss (to Mercer Island), we gotta stick together and be a family. Just buying in to staying with each other. We win together, we lose together,” said senior LW catcher Jesus Vizcarra.
LW burst out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first courtesy of an I-Ly Hsue two-run homer and an RBI single from Jesus Vizcarra. Juanita answered with two runs in the top of the second on an RBI single from Cole Kennison — one of his three hits on the day — and an error.
The Kangs then piled on six runs in the bottom of the second to go up, 9-2, with a variety of situations on the basepaths, including a few hits, errors, a hit batsman, a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly. Juanita tightened LW’s lead to 9-6 in the top of the third on a two-RBI double from Matthew McKeag and a two-RBI triple from Ryan Trautmann.
LW added two more runs in the bottom of the third on a Hsue sac fly and a wild pitch, and one more in the bottom of the sixth on a Jesus Vizcarra RBI single. Jesus had three hits and three RBIs on the day and Jose Vizcarra had two hits.
Lane Kraabel and Andrew Urrutia combined for the victory, with Urrutia pitching the final four and two thirds innings.
“It’s always tough, it’s a loser-out game,” said Jesus. “We knew they were gonna fight to the end, so I-Ly getting that lead, Lane pitching, Andrew coming in and closing the door” were crucial parts to the victory.
Juanita junior Kennison said he enjoyed facing LW again and felt his team played well despite making some errors and leaving some runners on base.
“It brings out the competitiveness of our team. No matter if they’re 19-1, we’re still a team that likes to battle and compete, ‘cause we’ve all played together since we were like 6 years old. It’s fun to compete with those guys,” he said.
Juanita will graduate only five seniors, and Kennison feels the Rebels will have a solid group of returners to compete hard and win more games next season.