ANACORTES - Nobody said the game of baseball is fair. In fact, the opposite has been said quite often.
After winning 19 of its first 20 games this season, Lynden got to experience just how fickle the game can be ? and at one of the more inopportune times.
Sedro-Woolley's Collin Hannan's two-out, seventh-inning infield single plated Kyle Robbins with a game-tying run, and then Hannan scored on Austin Schuetzle's single to lift the Cubs to a 5-4 victory over Lynden in the semifinals of the District 1/2 Tournament on Tuesday, May 7, at Volunteer Field on a night Lynden stranded 13 runners on base.
"Josh Kraght summed it up by saying, 'Baseball is a funny game,'" Lions coach Cory White said. "They get the (tying) run on a swinging bunt, and then we end the game on a ball that's hit hard to the center fielder. That's baseball. Sometimes you're going to get the breaks, and sometimes you're not. That's just how it falls."
With the loss Lynden (19-2) falls into an elimination game against Lake Washington at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 11. Win that game, and the Lions still must win the third-place game against the Sehome-Granite Falls winner to make it back to the 2A State Playoffs.
If Lynden can make it to state, it will mark the second straight year they have made it through the consolation bracket at the district tournament, as they lost to Bellingham in the district semifinals a year ago. But this year the Lions will need both wins on Saturday, with the district receiving only three berths to state ? last year they only needed and got one.
Sedro-Woolley (14-8), meanwhile, now has its trip to state locked up and will play Archbishop Murphy for the district title.
"Obviously, it would be nice to have today's win, but we got guys coming back for Saturday," White said. "Tanner (Olson) will be on the bump for the first game. We can win two games. That's what we need to do. We were in this situation last year. We got the win we needed, so it can be done. It makes you appreciate it a little more if you've got to work at it."
Lynden definitely didn't appreciate the excuse-me swing single that Hannan got, when his ground ball died down the third-base line. Pitcher Zach Vis was able to field it, but he didn't have time to throw out Hannan for would have been a game-ending play, and Robbins was able to hustle home to tie the game 4-4.
After hitting Cole Gahan with a 1-2 pitch, Vis then watched Schuetzle loop a single into left field to score Hannan from second.
Lynden got a two-out walk from Luke Christianson in the bottom of the seventh, and Kraght's single moved him to third base. Vis then scalded a well-hit ball into center field, but Kyle Morgan was able to catch up to it to record the final out.
That wasn't the only time Lynden was left feeling unlucky.
Just one inning earlier, Matt Meyer sent a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to centerfield. This time Morgan misplayed the ball for an error, but the ball bounced right back up to him and Lynden was only able to get one run home on the play to break a 3-3 tie.
With a pop up to shortstop and a strikeout, the Lions ended up leaving the bases loaded.
And that, more than any bad luck, was Lynden's undoing.
Of the unlucky 13 Lynden left on base, eight were stranded in scoring position.
"We had a got of guys left on base," White said. "We didn't get the hits when we needed to. We played really good defense and didn't have an error today. We had pitching and defense. We just didn't have the timely hits. That's the thing we had the other day, but we didn't today."
Schuetzle hurt Lynden throughout, as his third-inning two-run homer gave the Cubs an early lead.
Lynden managed to battle back when Christianson tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the third and Jordan Corbin scored on Vis' sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth.
Lynden again had to answer in the sixth after Sedro pushed across a run, and it responded when Vis drove in Christianson, and Meyer's sacrifice fly to the Lions to take their first lead of the game.
But it didn't end up being enough.
"We still have two games to go," White said. "We just got to win Saturday the first game. Then we put ourselves in position. We're not out of this thing by any means."
SEDRO-WOOLLEY 5, LYNDEN 4
Sedro-Woolley 002 001 2 ? 5 8 2
Lynden 001 102 0 ? 4 8 0
WP: Joe Hayes. LP: Zach Vis. Highlights: Luke Christianson 2-3, 2 R, 3B; Josh Kraght 1-2, R; Zach Vis 2-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Ryan Mouat 2-3.
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.