There have been some lopsided losses for the South Lakes High baseball team early on this season. Nonetheless, the Seahawks are gradually improving over the first month of the spring and, in going 3-4 over its first seven games, have received contributions from numerous players.
South Lakes improved its mark in the Liberty District standings to 2-2 this past Friday night, April 1 when they defeated visiting Jefferson, 8-6. The Seahawks overcame an early 3-0 deficit to beat the Colonials and gain their third win of the season overall.
"We're getting better every game," said South Lakes coach Galvin Morris, whose team went 6-16 last year. "Our district is so tough. Teams will be beating up one another all year. It's like the Big East in basketball."
The win over Jefferson snapped a three-game losing streak which had consisted of lopsided defeats at the hands of district opponents Stone Bridge and McLean by successive 11-1 and 11-0 scores, as well as a loss to cross-town rival Herndon, 20-1. Those games were not pretty and South Lakes sorely needed to get back into the win column when it took the field on a cold evening against Jefferson.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at Jefferson High, located off of Braddock Road in Alexandria. But the field conditions on the ball diamond at Jefferson were not good due to recent rainy weather and the game was switched to South Lakes in Reston.
SOUTH LAKES, trailing 3-0, scored a pair of runs in the third inning, the highlight base hit being an RBI double by Will Sweet. South Lakes tied the score at 3-3 in the fourth when pinch runner Austin Schweppe scored on a wild pitch. Schweppe had been running for Taylor Gose, who had opened the half inning with a single.
The home team Seahawks broke the tie in the fifth inning when Gose, batting with the bases loaded and two outs, earned a clutch RBI walk to make it 4-3 South Lakes. The next batter, David Odlen, then gave his team some breathing room when he knocked a three-run triple to make it 7-3. Jefferson used four walks by Seahawk pitching in the sixth inning to tally three runs and get within 7-6. But in the bottom half of the inning, South Lakes added an insurance run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Billy McLauglin to make the score 8-6. Jefferson was held scoreless in the seventh with South Lakes reliever John Beck, who worked 1-1/3 innings, earning the save.
Sweet, the South Lakes starter, worked 5-2/3 innings, allowing six hits, for the win. At the plate, South Lakes finished with eight hits, with Odlen having the biggest night with a double, triple, sacrifice bunt and three RBIs. Two-hit games also came from freshmen shortstop JoJo Lear and McLaughlin, a junior third baseman.
"We started off slow," said Morris, of the comeback win. "They went up 3-0 against us and we battled back. It wasn't a pretty win but we'll take it."
South Lakes' other district win this season came over Langley, 5-3, in a home game on March 22. The Seahawks scored all five of their runs that game in a breakout second inning. The South Lakes hitting star that night was center fielder Ryan Forrest, who smacked a double and two singles to lead the way. Beck, on the mound, allowed one run over four innings for the win.
South Lakes ended Langley's season a year ago when the Seahawks defeated the Saxons in a first round district tournament game. So coach Morris and his players were expecting Langley to come out wanting some payback in the recent meeting.
"I told the kids Langley would come out with a chip on their shoulder because we had ended their season," said Morris.
South Lakes held off Langley and gained the win. But after that, South Lakes lost its next three before the victory over Jefferson.
South Lakes was scheduled to play district games this week at Marshall on Tuesday, April 5 and home against Madison this Friday evening, April 8 at 6:30.