Lakeside Recovery takes second at Super Regional

July 21, 2009

By Bob Taylor

7-5 win over Longview’s Red Lion puts American Legion team in state tournament

Matt Houser, incoming Issaquah senior, pitches two innings of hitless relief for Lakeside Recovery July 19 against the Twin City Titans, during the Senior American Legion Super Regional tournament. By Greg Farrar

Matt Houser, incoming Issaquah senior, pitches two innings of hitless relief for Lakeside Recovery July 19 against the Twin City Titans, during the Senior American Legion Super Regional tournament. By Greg Farrar

The Lakeside Recovery Club’s baseball season hasn’t quite gone according to the original script envisioned by head coach Rob Reese. However, Lakeside is right where Reese wanted the team to be at this time of year — in the Senior American Legion state tournament.

Lakeside, 26-12-1, earned a trip to the state tournament when it grabbed the second berth July 19 in a Super Regional tournament at Newport High School with a 7-5 victory against Longview’s Red Lion.

The state tournament is July 25-29 at Tacoma’s Heidelberg Park, north of the Tacoma Rainiers’ Cheney Stadium. Lakeside plays Centralia at 7 p.m. in the first round.

The Super Regional featured three of the state’s strongest teams – the Twin City Titans, Longview Red Lion and Lakeside. All three finished among the top teams at last year’s state tournament.

“When I saw the bracket, I was really concerned,” Reese said. “We had the toughest bracket in the state.”The Titans defeated Lakeside 8-6 in a regional game for the top seed earlier July 19, meaning Lakeside had to win the second game against Red Lion to qualify for state. Lakeside prevailed against Red Lion, a perennial power, to reach state for the 19th time in Reese’s 20 years as head coach of the club.

Reese was one of the happiest people about Lakeside’s triumph. That’s because he wasn’t at the July 19 games. Reese was with his 12-year-old son Todd, who is playing in a national tournament in Cooperstown, N.Y. Todd had a good day, too. He had two hits and was the winning pitcher for his Newport Knights team that defeated the Illinois Sidewinders.

“It was definitely a good day for me,” Reese said. “Anytime your team gets to state, it’s great. And to see Todd have a great day was definitely a great experience.”

Lakeside opened the Super Regional July 18 with a 19-9 rout of Kitsap Legion. Lakeside catcher Kyle Sutherland, a former standout for Issaquah High School, had a memorable game. He went 4-for-5, including a grand slam and two doubles, and had nine runs batted in.

Sutherland, who played at Edmonds Community College last spring, drove in two runs in the first inning and smashed his grand slam to highlight Lakeside’s five-run second inning. The contest was halted in the bottom of the seventh because of the mercy rule when Lakeside scored two more runs to hold a 10-run lead.

Mario Sanelli, another former KingCo standout for Issaquah, also had a big day. He had three hits, including a home run and a double, and drove in three runs. Spencer Rogers, who just finished his junior year at Issaquah and has been an all-KingCo first team selection for the past two years, had two hits, four RBIs and scored five times.

With the victory against Kitsap Legion, Lakeside met the Twin City Titans, of Richland, for the region’s top berth to state. Twin City scored three times in the top of the first inning to get off to an early lead. The Titans held a 6-0 lead entering the bottom of the sixth when Lakeside struck for five runs.

Trace Tam-Sing, of Newport, hit a two-run home run for Lakeside and Devin O’Donnell, of Issaquah, had a two-run single for Lakeside. However, the Titans scored two more runs in the top of the seventh to get some breathing room, and then held off a Lakeside threat in the bottom of the inning to win the game. Four errors in the game hurt Lakeside’s chances of beating the Titans.

In the contest with Red Lion, Lakeside did all of its damage early, building up a 7-0 lead after the first three innings. Shawn Ellis, of Skyline, and Sanelli each had three hits and drove in two runs for Lakeside. Starting pitcher Jared Fisher worked the first 6.2 innings and struck out 13 batters.

Jared Lemke and Peyton Harrod, both of Skyline, finished up for Lakeside. Harrod pitched an impressive ninth inning to earn a save as Lakeside prevented Red Lion from reaching the state tournament for the first time in several years.

Chris Dubois, an assistant coach, subbed for Reese at the Super Regional.

Although he wasn’t at the games, Reese said he was pleased with the way his team bounced back to beat Red Lion.

“Our team, all year, has usually bounced back real well after it had a bad game,” he said. “I’m not surprised our team is going to state. I’ve thought we had a pretty good team all season.”

Lakeside began the season feeling confident about its pitching staff that included Adrian Sampson and Blake Fulghum, both of Skyline. However, Sampson, a two-time all-KingCo first-team selection, has missed the entire season and is scheduled to have Tommy John surgery. He was 7-1 for Skyline last spring and was supposed to be Lakeside’s No. 1 pitcher this summer. Fulghum, other than four innings early in the season, is also out for the remainder of the season because of an injury.

“Losing those two guys certainly hurt, but we’ve had some young guys really step up for us,” Reese said.

Shane Yarnell, of Issaquah, leads the staff with five victories. Cole Wiper, of Newport, has three saves.

Offensively, Rogers leads the team with a .495 average, 39 RBIs, and six home runs.

“We’ve hit the ball pretty well all season, but we haven’t always played well defensively,” Reese said. “We’ll have to play better defensively at state.”

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