Lawrence's Raiders could only laugh at what happened and nearly happened to them Sunday.
Their 17-15 win against Chanute at Free State High was comical, as easy as it looked for each batter to get a hit in a 32-run contest that included 30 hits (17 of them for extra bases) and five half-innings that featured four or more runs.
|Chanute||460||021||2-- 15 18 2|
|Raiders||014||804||x-- 17 12 2|
It was also comic, with the Raiders acting like Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Neuman. Chanute jumped to a 10-0 lead heading into Lawrence's half of the second inning, but everyone in the Raiders' dugout remained calm.
What, Lawrence worry? There's no reason to panic when looking at the Raider's lineup.
"It was nice to win," manager Carl Brooks said. "But it would have been more fun to be a part of if it wasn't 95 degrees outside. But we just had to have patience. These kids can hit."
Part of the reason for the high scoring and heavy hitting was the weather. Players, at times, struggled to keep focus because of the heat, and a cloudless, blue sky and swirling winds dazed the fielders.
"It was crazy out there," said Lawrence third baseman Jimmy Hahn, who misplayed a pop-up in the first inning. "If the ball went straight up into the sun, you were in trouble."
Chanute quickly cashed in on Hahn's gaffe with a three-run homer for a 4-0 lead after an inning. A six-spot in the second had Lawrence trailing 10-0.
Lawrence cut the deficit to 10-1 with two outs in the bottom of the third when Shaun Flynn walked, Troy Wingert singled and Hahn walked. Flynn eventually scored on a wild pitch before John Swenson drilled his first home run of the summer, a three-run blast to leftfield that cut the deficit to 10-5.
Most players would have been thrilled at the success of a teammate, but Swenson received gentle chiding for leaving the park with help from a gust of wind.
"My brother (Josh) has hit one out this summer (for the Outlaws)," Swenson said, "and I had a few get to the wall that I thought had a chance. It was nice to finally get one out."
Lawrence completed the comeback on Swenson's RBI double in the fourth that tied the game at 10. Eight runs were scored in the inning that saw 12 batters and four doubles.
The 13-10 advantage seemed safe, but a two-run homer cut the lead to one, and the game was tied again in the sixth on an RBI triple.
"It just kept going back and forth," Hahn said.
So Hahn decided to do something to end the flip-flopping. He looked frustrated after fouling off a meaty pitch, but he drilled the next pitch, a 2-1 breaking ball, for a home run down the leftfield line.
"It was the cheapest home run I've hit," said Hahn, who has five this summer. "At first I thought it was going foul, then I thought it was going to be caught. I still don't know how it got over."
The game remained close gone with the wind, perhaps, as five home runs were hit (two by Lawrence) on balls that probably wouldn't normally get out.
"It was definitely a hitter's day," Swenson said.
Lawrence pushed the lead to 17-13 heading into the final inning. Hahn later admitted he breathed a sigh of relief with a four-run lead, and told pitcher T.J. Davison to relax and throw the ball over the plate.
That strategy nearly backfired as Chanute cut the deficit to 17-15 with runners on first and second and no out when Davison was pulled.
But Chad Wright, normally a starter but having pitched well in relief this weekend, quickly ended the game with a strikeout and a textbook 4-6-3 double play.
"I'm very proud of Chad," Brooks said. "He's struggled this year, but he had a wonderful weekend. He deserved it."
Lawrence's Outlaws thought they might have an advantage after Chanute lost a heart-breaker in it's first game blowing a 10-0 lead in a 17-15 loss against the Lawrence Raiders Sunday at the Free State High field.
"It was hot out," Outlaw manager Bill Naff said, "and we figured they'd be tired. We knew they could hit, though."
Damon Benitez hit a home run to lead off for Lawrence, igniting a four-run first inning.
But Chanute, which showed it could hit against the Raiders, did more of the same in the second game in a 14-5 win that ended after five innings because of the run-rule.
"We started out well," Naff said, "but (Chanute's) bats came alive."
Chanute scored six runs in two different innings.
Benitez hit his first homer of the summer, and later nearly added his second on a ball that was caught at the centerfield warning track.
"I feel like I've been hitting well," Benitez said. "The pitch I hit out, I really got a hold of."
Jake Coffman also had two doubles as the Outlaws dropped to 10-20.