Lakeside Recovery bid for state falls short

July 26, 2011

By Bob Taylor

Lakeside Recovery’s Mike Paulson, shown in a July 8 baseball game, pitched nine strong innings July 21 against the Spokane Blue Devils during the American Legion AAA Super Regional Tournament. By Greg Farrar

The baseball season ended a bit sooner than usual for Lakeside Recovery Senior American Legion team.

Lakeside Recovery, for just the second time in 16 years, failed to qualify for the AAA state tournament when it lost two games July 21 in a Super Regional Tournament at Bellevue’s Bannerwood Park.

After overcoming a variety of adversities throughout the summer, Lakeside Recovery manager Rob Reese liked his team’s chances of reaching state tournament when it entered the regional last week. Things looked promising July 20 when Lakeside Recovery, the regional host, hammered the Tacoma Cobras 12-0 in the opening round. Lakeside exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Issaquah graduate Mike Paulson, who played at Walla Walla Community College in the spring, had two hits and Newport graduate Dan Altchech had two hits and drove in three runs. Pitcher Travis Snider, a Skyline High graduate, blanked the Cobras on five hits and did not walk a batter.

With the victory, Lakeside Recovery entered July 21 with two chances to advance to the state tournament. In the first game, Lakeside Recovery met the Spokane Blue Devils, who also won their opener, in a winner-to-state game. The Blue Devils dealt Lakeside Recovery a heartbreaking 3-2 loss in 10 innings.

“We had our chances to score early but we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities. We let them (Spokane) stay in the game and they put the ball in play when they had to. They executed when they had to,” Reese said.

Lakeside Recovery had a strong pitching performance from Paulson, who worked the first nine innings. He struck out seven batters. A costly error in the ninth inning helped the Blue Devils tie the game at 2-2.

“Paulson pitched great. He deserved the win but we just couldn’t get those last couple outs,” Reese said.

Jim Sinatro, of Skyline, accounted for one of the Lakeside Recovery runs with a home run. Brandon Mahovlich, of Issaquah, singled in the other run.

Despite the loss, Lakeside Recovery had another chance at a state berth. However, the Kennewick Bandits ended Lakeside Recovery’s season with an 8-5 victory.

Jake Bakamus, of Issaquah, led Lakeside Recovery with three hits. Kyle Goemmer, of Newport, and Snider each had two hits.

The Bandits led 4-1 after three innings and was on top 5-3 going into the bottom of the fifth inning. Lakeside Recovery scored twice to tie the game. However, the Bandits put two runs on the scoreboard in the seventh inning to win the game.

Lakeside Recovery finished the season with a 21-23 record. Losing records are not normal for this club, which has won five state titles under Reese.

“We pitched well enough to win every game, but it was just a matter of playing defense and executing on offense,” Reese said. “Too many times we left runs on the board. In big games you just can’t give up scoring opportunities.”

The last time Lakeside Recovery missed on qualifying for the state tournament was in 2005. The next year the club won the state title. With several young players on this year’s team, Lakeside Recovery could duplicate the feat next summer.

“We have a lot of the players back. We should have a pretty good team next year,” Reese said. “It’s just a matter of working harder and getting better.”

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or bobtaylor@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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