Lakeview suffers extra innings heart breaker

July 22, 2018

The close ones are always the ones that hurt the worst.

The Bank of the Valley Lakeview Seniors took the field against Seward on Friday in the first round of the district tournament, which is being hosted by the American Legion team based out of York.

The game was full of ups and downs for both teams, which saw multiple lead changes, extra innings and a walk-off hit.

Lakeview was stifled on offense for much of the day and when it came up to bat in the top of the sixth inning, the team was staring at a 3-0 deficit.

With the pressure on the team to swing momentum in their favor. Isaac Dreifurst was the leadoff batter and came through for Lakeview when it needed him most, hitting a single to get on base. Dominic Penne kept the bats hot when he blasted a double allowing Dreifurst to reach home, narrowing the score to 3-1. Cameron Drozd then contributed by wearing the ball when he was hit by a pitch.

Jaden Johnson, who has been one of the main contributors all year for Lakeview, was called on once again with runners on first and second. Jaden Johnson showed his poise, hitting a hard ground ball in the gap between first and second base, which scored two runs and tied the game at 3-3.

On the next batter up, Jaden Johnson showed his baseball IQ when a one-hopper came right to the Seward third baseman. Jaden Johnson stalled the third baseman by coming off second base and forced an errant throw. That allowed teammate Carter Luedtke to reach first base and Jaden Johnson to score, which gave Lakeview their first lead of the game at 4-3.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Seward scored a run of its own in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. When neither team could score in the seventh, the game went into extra innings.

In the top of the eighth, the Lakeview offense was held scoreless and needed a stop from its defense in order to stay alive.

Cody Schaad came into to replace Jaden Johnson at pitcher in a tough situation with the bases loaded. Seward’s Caleb Meyer ended the game in one swing when he hit the game-winning walk-off single in the bottom of the eight giving Seward the 5-4 victory.

Lakeview finished the game with four runs, five hits and three errors, compared to Seward’s five runs, nine hits and two errors.

Seward’s pitcher Brett Meyer was credited with the win, while Jaden Johnson took the loss for Lakeview.

On top of being the winning pitcher, Brett Meyer also had an impressive day from the plate going 3-for-3 batting, with two base hits and two RBI.

Dreifurst had one of the more successful days for Lakeview from the plate as he went 2-for-3 and scored one run.

Penne had some success pitching as he was on the mound for 3 1/3 innings. He allowed three hits and one run, walking only two batters and throwing three strikeouts.

Despite the disappointing loss, head coach Brach Johnson said he’s proud of his team for continuing to fight throughout the game.

“We really just kept scratching and clawing,” Brach Johnson said. “It came down to the last two innings. They were able to make one or two more plays than we were. In the eighth inning, they go the one run which won them the game.”

Seward will advance to play Lincoln Lutheran at 4 p.m. today, and Lakeview’s next game will be at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Because of the way the bracket is designed, Lakeview gets a bye in the next round of the tournament (there are only seven teams participating in the tournament). Brach Johnson mentions this advantage.

“One funny thing is, it’s a seven-team bracket,” Brach Johnson said. “At the end of the day, the fact is we’re short on pitchers. The way the bracket is set up is we get to play one less game. We really think we can make a good run.”

With the tournament being a double-elimination tournament, Brach Johnson said the only thing on Lakeview’s mind is winning their next game and continuing their season.

“We just have to refuse to lose, our motto is, ‘survive and advance,’” Brach Johnson said.

Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for the Columbus Telegram reach him via email at peter.huguenin@lee.net

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