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Seahawks Experience Win, Heart-breaking Loss

South Lakes High baseball 5-15 over the regular season.

The South Lakes High baseball team was scheduled to meet host Langley in a round one game of the Liberty District tournament earlier this week on Tuesday, May 18. The Seahawks, who were 5-15 over the regular season, are the No. 7-seed team of the eight-team tournament. Langley is the No. 6 seed.

The Langley-South Lakes winner will advance to the quarterfinals versus No. 3 Stone Bridge on Wednesday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. in Ashburn. McLean is the tournament's No. 1 seed, followed by No. 2 Madison, No. 3 Stone Bridge, No. 4 Fairfax, No. 5 Marshall, No. 6 Langley, No. 7 South Lakes and No. 8 Jefferson.

The district tournament semifinals will take place this Friday, May 21 at McLean High School with round of four games scheduled at both 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. The district title game will take place Monday night, May 24, 6:30 p.m., at Madison High School in Vienna.

South Lakes must win district tournament games over both Langley and Stone Bridge in order to advance to the upcoming Northern Region playoffs.

South Lakes' top hitters during the regular season were junior outfielder Wilfredo Corps-Ortiz (.407 batting average), followed by senior Kevin Ball (.310) and sophomore outfielder Ryan Forrest (.279). The Seahawks' top RBI men were Corps-Ortiz (13 RBIs) and Will Sweet (12).

On the mound, junior John Beck was the pitcher of record for all five of South Lakes' wins. Over 13 appearances and 46-1/3 innings of work, the right hander struck out 49 batters, walked 15 and gave up 34 hits. He carried a nifty earned run average of 2.42.

"He's a competitor and won all our games for us," said South Lakes coach Galvin Morris.

<b>SOUTH LAKES' LAST WIN</b> came on May 4 in a district game at Jefferson. After that, the Seahawks lost their final three games of the regular season to Marshall, 8-7, on May 7; Madison, 8-0 on May 11; and Fairfax, 14-5, on May 14.

The loss at Marshall was a heart-breaker. The Seahawks took a 7-6 lead into the seventh inning before the Statesmen rallied for two runs — both coming on squeeze bunts — in their final at-bats. Marshall designated hitter Franklyn Hall, with the bases loaded and the score tied at 7-7, executed his team's second successful squeeze bunt of the inning for the winning run.

Marshall took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. South Lakes countered with two runs in the third inning. Austin Schweppe legged out an infield single and Ryan Forrest hit a line drive triple to center for the first run. Wilfredo Corps-Ortiz drove Forrest home with a solid single to left for the second run of that inning.

Seahawk starting pitcher John Beck kept Marshall at bay until the fourth inning when the Statesmen scored three runs to take a 4-2 lead. The Seahawks closed the gap to one run in the fifth on a Schweppe double, followed by a Forrest infield single and a Marshall throwing error.

Marshall scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 6-3 lead. The resilient Seahawks, however, came roaring back in the sixth inning with a two-out, four-run rally. David Odlen legged out an infield single and then took second base on an errant throw. Lucian Fox then drove a 2-0 pitch to deep right field for an RBI triple. After a Schweppe walk, Forrest hit a line drive triple to right center to score two runs and tie the game at 6-6. Will Sweet singled to plate the go-ahead run and make the score 7-6 Seahawks.

The Seahawks, in the game, had 10 hits, led by Forrest (three hits, including two triples, three RBIs). Schweppe had a pair of hits, including a double, and scored three runs. Other contributions on offense came from Sweet (hit, RBI), Odlen (hit, run scored) and Lucian Fox (RBI triple). Corps-Ortiz was 1 for 2 with an RBI and two intentional walks. Wes Casson and Billy McLaughlin also added hits.

<b>EARLIER IN THE WEEK</b>, South Lakes had beaten Jefferson, 9-0. The Seahawks combined shutout pitching with explosive hitting to shut out the Colonials. South Lakes jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a Forrest triple, Will Sweet RBI single, Corps-Ortiz RBI triple and a Kevin Ball RBI single.

Ball legged out a double to begin the third inning. McLaughlin followed with a two-run home run to left center to put South Lakes up 5-0. The Seahawks added another run in the fourth on a Corps-Ortiz double and Kevin Ball sac fly. Forrest added to the hitting attack in the fifth inning with a two-out, two-run double, scoring Casson and Odlen. Ball completed the Seahawk scoring with a solo home run to center field in the sixth inning.

Beck started the game on the mound and went four innings, striking out seven and allowing just two hits with a walk.

"He kept Jefferson batters off balance," said Morris, of Beck's outing against Jefferson. "They had a hard time picking up his stuff. He pitched an overall good game for us."

Sweet pitched two innings in relief, allowing one hit and striking out one. Odlen pitched the seventh inning, allowing one hit and striking out three. Perfect Seahawk defense contributed to a great pitching effort with no errors and a 1-6-3 double play to end the first inning.

Ball led the 11-hit Seahawk attack, going 3 for 3 (with a homer) and knocking in three runs. Forrest (two RBIs), Sweet (one RBI) and Corps-Ortiz (one RBI) each had two hits. McLaughlin belted a two-run homer and Fox added a hit.