The Lake News Online
  • Comeback Kids finish second after loss to Bruins in district championship

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  • In their last two games, the Camdenton Lakers managed to pull out two seventh inning rallies for the win, knocking two state-ranked baseball teams out of the district tournament in the process. They had developed a reputation that commanded the attention of the opponents.
    It's the story that every sportswriter wants: the underdog, written off by everyone, coming back to win it all.
    It's a tale of drama, late inning heroics and of the bond between a team.
    Unfortunately, the Lakers were unable to rally and overcome the lead the Bruins had, and returned to their hometown with the second place plaque.
    That doesn't mean they didn't return victorious.
    Down 9-0 after the first inning, the Lakers had been stunned by errors, giving up eight unearned runs on six hits.
    Normally, a team would look at that scoreboard, see a 9-0 deficit, and feel the waves of hopelessness rush over them.
    "Don't lay down," Camdenton's coach Matt Moulder shouted to his team. "Find a way to get back in the game."
    The Lakers came out to bat in the second inning, and showed that they had not given up just yet. They scored three runs. Dylan Hymes led off the inning with a single to right field, ad was followed by Jake Voorhees, who also picked up a single on a hit to center.
    Jordan Webster looked to make up for his missed plays in right field in the first inning, and drilled the ball to left field, batting in Hymes. Tristan Starkey was tagged out at first, but managed to bat in a run before Oliver Thompson smacked the ball out to centerfield, batting in the third run.
    Just like that, the Comeback Kids were back in business, trailing 9-3 with five-and-a-half innings left to play.
    The Bruins would manage to tack on two runs of their own in the bottom of the second, but the Lakers still hung in the game, with Tyler Cunningham drilling the ball over the fence for a home run in the third.
    Rock Bridge would reply with another two runs scored in the bottom of third, which would be the last time the Bruins scored in the game.
    Trailing 13-4 at the beginning of the fourth inning, the Lakers trailed by nine once again, and it looked as if that would be the end of the story.
    But the Lakers weren't done yet. They still had some heroics left in them.
    After Starkey and Thompson found their way on base, Jake Decker came up to bat. Decker then proceeded to go toe-to-toe with Rock Bridge's pitcher Adam Lafferty, who finally struck out Decker with a total of 10 pitches thrown.
    With two outs and two runners on base, Cunningham returned to the plate.
    Page 2 of 2 - He proceeded to smack the ball out to right field, where it struck the light pole before continuing its course over the fence. There's still a white mark on the pole where the ball struck it.
    Cunningham's home run scored three runs, and once again, the Lakers were back in it.
    But it wasn't enough, as the Bruins managed to lock down the Camdenton team, allowing no more runs and clinching the district championship with a score of 13-7.
    "It's a tough loss, certainly," Coach Moulder said. "Rock Bridge is one heck of a ball club and have been state-ranked all year. We have the utmost respect for their players and their coaches, and they deserve this championship."
    Despite the early meltdown in the first inning, Moulder's pride in his team was what was most evident in his post-game interview.
    "It's disappointing. We didn't play our best game and dug ourselves a hole," Moulder said. "But I am proud of the fact that our kids continued to fight, continued to battle and made a ball-game out of it. I thought our kids gave a heck of an effort, we just ran out of steam at the end. Asking a team to beat three state-ranked teams to win the district is pretty insane. "
    But the Lakers nearly did it.
    And because of it, they were able to walk away with their heads held high and with the respect of their opponents.
    "Wins are great, trophies are great, but the life lessons the boys will take with them is what we're trying to get out of it," Moulder said.
    Never give up. That is definitely a lesson that will stick with the members of this team.
    Because that's what a comeback is all about.
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