Of all the high school teams in all the different sports this year, perhaps no team went through more than the Lake Washington baseball team.
Winning streaks and losing streaks. Amazing performances and suspensions. The triumph of loser-out victories. And, in the end, the agony of an back-and-forth extra-inning baseball game were one team had to lose.
After beating Woodinville and Inglemoor in the KingCo 4A tournament, with a Redmond loss sandwiched in between, Lake Washington traveled to Vancouver for a pigtail winner-to-state, loser-out game against Battle Ground High of the Greater St. Helens League. Lake Washington battled back to score four runs in the final two innings of regulation, including three in the top of the seventh, to tie the game up at eight and send the game into extra innings.
The Kangs would score one in the top of the eighth on a Chris Hashimoto sacrifice fly to take a 9-8 lead. But the lead would not hold, as Battle Ground would score two in the bottom half of the inning to head to the state tournament.
In his final game of his high school career, senior David Rosser went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and three doubles against Battle Ground. Fellow senior Curtis Howell got the start on the mound and went 1-for-1 at the plate with an RBI. Senior Ryan Neumann also had a RBI, to go along with a double.
Lake Washington got to the winner-to-state game by beating Inglemoor 11-2 last Thursday in a game that was much closer than the score indicated. The game was tied at two going into the bottom of the fifth when the Kangs started pouring it on, scoring four in the fifth thanks to a two-run home run by Hashimoto and then four more runs in the sixth. Junior Eric Folkers had hit a two-run home run in the second inning to provide the early scoring
“I’ve been in a slump lately, so it just felt good to hit a ball good,” Folkers said. “We just did what we had to do. (We) executed (and) just poured it on.”
Hashimoto, the senior first basemen, ended the game 3-for-3 and senior Sean Falco turned in a gem of a performance on the mound, going five innings to pick up the win.
Just getting to a winner-to-state game seemed like a long shot a month ago when the Kangs were mired in a three-game losing streak, in part due to suspensions to two Lake Washington starters. After a players only meeting, Lake Washington went on a five-game winning streak to close out the season 13-7 and in a three-way tie for second place. Lake Washington lost a coin flip and then lost an extra inning game to Juanita to get the fourth seed in the KingCo tournament.
Even with the final loss, the Kangs ended the season 15-10 and winners of seven of their last 10.
“It’s been really good,” Hashimoto said of the run at the end of the year after the Inglemoor game. “Especially because a lot of people were getting in trouble at the beginning of the year and a lot things weren’t going our way. But going on this little streak has felt really good.”