The Southwestern Oregon Lakers edged by the Lane Titans 6-5 on April 18 at Titan Field to hand Lane just their fourth conference loss of the season. The Titans fell to third in the NorthWest Athletic Conference, but only a game and a half behind Clackamas.
Late in the second inning, the Lakers opened the scoring off of a double from Chandler Kochan. The Lakers led 1-0, heading into the bottom of the second. The Titans were unable to answer and Lane gave up four more runs in the third inning to give SWOCC a comfortable 5-0 lead.
With things looking bleak, Lane head coach Josh Blunt decided to bring in right-handed pitcher Harrison Grow for Dillon Larsen. Grow gave up one run in the top of the fourth inning.
The Titans failed to cross home plate until the bottom of the fifth inning when they scored three runs to cut the deficit in half.
Back-to-back doubles by Cade Kissell and Hank Forrest opened the scoring for Lane. After Matt Aguilar was walked to first base, Jayden Hanna hit to outfield a deep fly ball that was caught by a Laker outfielder but helped Forrest and Aguilar advance to second and third base.
Lane outfielder Colton Sakomoto recorded his only RBI of the afternoon when he hit a single past the infield line, which allowed Forrest to score. The scoreboard read 6-2 after Forrest scored Lane’s second run. Titan Tielar Murray hit another deep ball to outfield and provided Aguilar an opportunity to score, bringing the Titans back into striking distance for a comeback.
Hanna hit his first triple of the season to put himself in scoring position with only one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Unfortunately, the Titans were unable to record a hit after Hanna, as he was left on third base heading into the top of the eighth inning with the score standing at 4-6. The time for a comeback was running out.
Lane’s defense stood steady and allowed no hits after the fourth inning, putting the pressure on the offense to get on base.
With their last chance at a comeback in the ninth inning, Aguilar hit his first and only single. A couple batters later gave Hanna, who was earlier walked to first base, a chance to score and make it a one-run game. As he safely scored, Lane was just two runs away from taking down the Lakers.
Their efforts fell short as catcher Jimmy McDonald hit a ball to outfield that was ultimately caught. This secured the Lakers their fourth conference win of the season, winning by a thin margin, 6-5.
Despite losing the first game, Lane bounced back and won the remaining four games of the series to bring their overall record to above .500 for the first time this season. Their four wins also boosted them into second-place ahead of Clark and Clackamas. The Titans split a pair of games with Clark on Sunday, April 22 to keep themselves ahead of the Penguins in the NWAC South standings.
Lane will face fourth-place Clackamas in another five-game series this week with games spread across April 24, 27 and 28.