Senior Legion team outscores opponents 48-10 at State Tournament, takes sixth state title

As the heat in the region rose to record temperatures, there was nothing to cool down the Lakeside Recovery Senior Legion baseball club.

As the heat in the region rose to record temperatures, there was nothing to cool down the Lakeside Recovery Senior Legion baseball club.

The team, composed of Newport, Skyline and Issaquah players, rolled through the Senior Legion State Tournament earlier this week, capturing its sixth state title and a Regional Tournament bid with an 8-0 win over Yakima Pepsi Pak in the championship game Wednesday night at Heidelberg Park in Tacoma.

Colin Hering pitched seven scoreless inning, scattering nine hits while striking out eight.

Hering (5-2) got out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam early in the game that coach Rob Reese said set the tone of the game.

“He got himself out of that jam, and that’s kind of a backbreaker for the other team,” he said. “We came right back and scored some big runs.”

Lakeside, having gone undefeated through the tournament bracket, including a 4-3 second-round win over Yakima, could have lost the game and still played a second against Pepsi Pak for the title.

But Spencer Rogers and Mario Sanelli each hit home runs to assure only the first game would be necessary.

The bats came alive in the tournament – outscoring opponents 48-10. But they weren’t the whole story, as the pitching staff threw two shutouts and allowed more than three runs in only one of the tournament’s five games.

“I don’t know if it’s the warm weather or what, but we got hot at the right time,” Reese said. “When you combine that with the dominant pitching we got, we’re a hard team to beat.”

As the team heads to the Senior Legion Regional Tournament for the first time since a runner-up finish in 2006, Reese credits the team’s ability to adapt and overcome, especially after arm injuries to top pitchers Adrian Sampson and Blake Fulgham.

“Guys really stepped up into new roles after we lost Adrian and Blake,” Reese said. “Guys like Jared Fisher, Peyton Harrod and Colin Hering, they’ve flourished in their new roles. That’s when things started rolling.”

The Senior Legion Regional Tournament runs Aug. 6-9 in Medford, Ore.

Lakeside moved to 33-12-1 with the victory. The team opened the state tournament with an 8-5 win over Centrailia, followed the next day with a 4-3 win over Pepsi Pak in 13 innings on Sunday. Lakeside then blew out the heavily favored Kennewick Bandits 16-0, and followed with a 12-2 win over the Twin City Titans, which contained several of the Richland High School players who eliminated Newport in the semi-finals of the 4A state tournament this past spring.

The team kicks of regional tournament play Wednesday, when they take on Charter Cove, Calif., at 12 p.m.

“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing,” Reese said. “These guys have come together has a team. Hopefully we can ride it out as long as we can.”

Joel Willits can be reached at 425-453-5045.