Things looked bleak for the Lake Washington Kangaroos baseball team after two innings of play against the Bellevue Wolverines in a loser-out KingCo 3A playoff game.
Bellevue put up five runs in the bottom of the second inning, building a commanding 5-0 lead. Bellevue’s Zach Vander Hoek connected on a 2 RBI double to centerfield with the bases loaded sparking the Wolverines offense in the bottom of the second.
The Kangaroos weren’t fazed by the Wolverines sizzling start in the early stages of the game.
Lake Washington responded with two runs in the top of the third, cutting Bellevue’s lead to 5-2. In the top of the sixth they added three more runs tying the game at 5-5. With two outs in the top of the seventh, Michael Buchanan blasted a solo home-run to left field off of Bellevue relief pitcher Colin Suter, giving the Kangaroos a 6-5 lead. Lake Washington relief pitcher Nick Ludwig shut down Bellevue in the bottom of the seventh with three consecutive outs, preserving Lake Washington’s 6-5 comeback win against Bellevue on May 9 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. Lake Washington head coach Derek Bingham knew his team would keep its composure despite trailing by five runs after the first two innings.
“When they scored five [runs] we knew we didn’t have to get them all back right away but we had to get some. The two biggest hits of the game was the two-out, two-strike double [Joey Wishart] that got us on the board [top of third] and of course the home-run. We haven’t hit a home-run all year. Michael has hit a couple like that which have kind of died at the warning track so I was hoping with everything I could for it to get out before it went over the fence,” Bingham said with a smile. “It was pretty dang exciting for sure.”
Buchanan echoed Bingham’s sentiment on the game-winning home-run.
“I have had a lot of close calls and to finally see one get out on a big field like this just meant the world to keep our season alive,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan said his team knew the game was far from over after Bellevue scored five runs in the bottom of the second.
“We just knew we had to battle. We weren’t going to let our season end just because of one bad inning,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan, who was the Kangaroos starting pitcher against the Wolverines, pitched the first four innings. Ludwig surrendered just one hit in the final three innings of the game on the hill. Bingham was impressed with the grittiness unveiled by his two pitchers.
“Michael really bulldogged on the mound after he struggled in the second inning to keep us in the game and then Nick came in on short rest and really shut them down. I’m proud of our guys for fighting. It was impressive,” Bingham said.
Bellevue head coach Tate Seefried was disappointed to see his team’s season come to a close.
“Nobody wants to go out that way,” Seefried said of the defeat. “We got 10 seniors and we wanted to keep going. The whole team wanted to keep going. We came out strong and then caught a little bit of lull there the last few innings. They [Lake Washington] were down and they kept fighting. They were victorious unfortunately.”
Seefried was proud of the way his experienced squad carried themselves during a memorable season on the diamond. The Wolverines finished the 2017 season with an overall record of 17-5.
“The thing I will remember about these guys is the leadership. These guys and the seniors took the bull by the horns and really wanted it bad this year. We fought to the end today. It just wasn’t enough,” he said.