Bank of the Valley left the tying run on base, outhit the hosts but never quite produced the big hit and suffered a 5-4 loss on Wednesday night in Pierce.
Back in action for the first time in a week, Lakeview used the combination of Cody Schaad, Seth Bloomquist and Caden Pelan on the mound. None were dominant but each was effective in helping Lakeview get through five innings down 5-3. It was a 2-0 deficit after three, a 3-2 lead after 3 and 1/2 but then a 5-3 hole when Pierce responded in the bottom half.
Bank of the Valley had its leadoff man on to begin the seventh, brought him in two hitters later on a grounder through the right side but left that runner at first following a fly out and a strikeout.
Lakeview only left four runners on base but was just 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
"We just couldn't get that timely hit in the seventh to get the game tied," coach Brach Johnson said. "That was kind of how it went down for the game.
"Our hitting is still coming along, and we limited ourselves to one error. We threw strikes, didn't give up a lot of walks, made the plays in the field but just couldn't get the timely hit when we needed."
Cody Schaad started and went three innings with two hits, two earned runs and three walks. He threw 49 pitches, 30 for strikes.
Seth Bloomquist followed with two innings, three hits, three earned runs and two Ks. He was also effective in the zone, tossing 24 of his 41 pitches for strikes.
Caden Pelan tossed the final inning, allowing a hit and walking a batter while throwing 16 of 26 for strikes.
Pierce drew first blood after back-to-back leadoff walks in the third. A grounder with runners at the corners made it 1-0 followed by a two-out single to right and a 2-0 lead.
Lakeview took the lead after Cameron Drozd and Ian Gibbs led off the fifth with a pair of singles. A walk to Schaad loaded it up. Jaden Johnson capitalized two hitters later on a 2-run single to center.
Lane Forney drove in the go-ahead run in the next at-bat but was caught advancing to second, ending the inning with a 3-2 Lakeview lead.
Pierce responded with three hits, a sac bunt and a walk scoring three just moments later.
Gibbs led off the seventh with a single then cut the lead to 5-4 on an RBI to right by Dylan Wyatt. He was left on first after an infield pop up and a strikeout swinging.
"We had a bunch of balls hit right at people," Johnson said. "Sometimes, that's how it goes. The baseball gods wouldn't find a hole for us.
"We have four or five new players on the team, so we're still in that stage of getting to know each other, figure out our strengths and weaknesses. But I like a lot about what we're doing."
After an irregular schedule through the first three weeks of the season, including a rainout, Bank of The Valley now prepares for more consistency.
The Seniors host Pender on Friday night at home and then go to the South Sioux City Tournament this weekend. Over the next two weeks, they'll play nine times.
"That's really going to help us improve," Johnson said. "We're looking forward to spending some time together, playing a bunch of baseball and coming closer as a team. I think we'll see a lot of positives from that."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.