Lakeside Recovery Baseball Club earns third in American Legion World Series
August 28, 2012
By Matt Carstens
The Lakeside Recovery Baseball Club only lost two games in the American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C., both to the same pitcher. Genetically, that is.
Brooklawn’s twin phenoms Casey and Cody Brown held Lakeside in check in the two games, limiting the Bellevue team to two runs in their first meeting Aug. 19, and only three runs in the Aug. 21 semifinal game. Both games were one-run affairs.
“We ran into a tough left-hander, and they got the big hit when they needed it with two outs,” Lakeside head coach Rob Reese said. “We got our chances in the eighth inning and we only got one out of it. There’s not much room for error when you get to that level. You have to take advantage of your opportunities and we had a couple shots, but we just didn’t get it that day.”
The fact that they basically faced the same pitcher who gave them problems two days earlier didn’t help matters.
“We faced his twin brother,” Reese said. “Both times we lost, we lost to those two guys and they were both college pitchers. Some of our best hitters were left-handed so that kind of put us at a disadvantage, just not a great matchup.”
Despite the disappointing ending to the tournament, the fact that out of 5,200 teams in American Legion Baseball Lakeside Recovery came in third place is not something Reese is letting his kids get too down about.
“You have to win your league, you have to win your state, you have to win the whole Northwest to get to that tournament,” Reese said. “You had to play three weeks of great baseball to get back there, and to finish third, it was amazing.”
Shelby was quite the scene, with more than 101,000 people attending the tournament; none of the Lakeside kids had really had the experience of playing in front of such mammoth crowds. First basemen Ethan Kalin hadn’t experienced anything like it.
“It was pretty crazy,” he said. “Baseball down there was crazy — everyone would come up to you for autographs, pictures, everyone wanted to talk to you — it’s a big deal. There were about 5,000 people there and the city just shuts down. It was a really cool experience.”
The road to get there was even crazier for the team, which spent only four days at home between the three weeks of tournament baseball. After winning five straight games in 100-degree Montana heat, they flew directly to Shelby, where they went 3-2, good for third place.
As for the cloned southpaws, Kalin didn’t have any answers either.
“They were pretty much the exact same pitcher,” he said. “They were both freshmen in college. Most of the New Jersey team were college players. They were pretty good. It was funny just facing both of them, we were like, ‘Gah, we just saw this guy last time.’”
A cliché goal
Looking back to the beginning of the season, Kalin recalled his coaches telling the team members that their goal was to win the World Series. Kalin’s teammates we’re trying to be more realistic.
“Our team back then was like, ‘Let’s be honest, we’re not going to the World Series,’” he said. “But we just kept winning. We went to state, won it all. Our game playing just got really good and then we won regionals, and then we’re like dang this is a pretty crazy experience.”
The odds were definitely against them, but Kalin said he knows the memories will last a long time.
“It meant a lot because I think there’s only been two other teams that have gone to the World Series and the last time was in like ’96 or something,” Kalin said. “It was a cool experience and the young guys are probably going to remember this for the rest of their lives.”
Now that the long, strange trip is over, a few of the Lakesiders will attend college soon.
Kalin and his Issaquah High School teammate Jake Bakamus will be roommates at Lower Columbia Community College. Pitcher Brandon Mahovlich, outfielder Nate Anderson and pitcher/infielder Aaron Sandefur are going to Bellevue College.
As far as Division-I goes, Skyline High School standouts Jim Sinatro will attend Gonzaga, Matt Lunde is going to the University of Washington and Clayton Huber is going to Washington State University.