Archive for Sunday, July 15, 2001

Bandits advance to state tournament

July 15, 2001


It's the kind of situation baseball players dream about last inning, full count, bases loaded and down a run.

But what happens when you hit a slow, routine grounder to first that surely secures victory for your opponent?

Well if you're lucky like Lawrence Bandits' second baseman Josh Moreno the other team makes a miscue on your seemingly simple hit, which allows your team to tie the game and gives your teammate a chance to win it.

The was the scenario for the Bandits on Saturday night at Free State, and Lawrence's very next batter, Zach Puckett, walked on five pitches to give the Bandits a 13-12, come-from-behind victory over Blue Valley North for the American Legion Zone 3 championship.

"When I first saw where I hit it I was so mad," said Moreno. "But when I saw that he misplayed it, I was excited."

The victory, the second in as many days for the Bandits over the Mustangs, propels the 16-under Lawrence team to the American Legion state championship tournament this Thursday in Emporia.

"I'm really proud of our kids," Lawrence coach Mike Hill said. "It definitely wasn't pretty, but the bottom line is the bottom line.

"Our kids really battled. It says a lot to comeback two nights in a row."

Early on Saturday it appeared as Lawrence was cruising when they scored five runs in the first.

Another game with the Mustangs only if Blue Valley North won Saturday seemed an afterthought.

But the Mustangs came back, plating four runs of their own in the third and taking a 6-5 lead in the fourth.

But in the fifth the Bandits' bats again exploded tallying four more runs to give them a 9-6 advantage.

Blue Valley North answered with two runs in the sixth while Lawrence added another of its own, allowing the real drama to wait until the seventh.

The Bandit's cushion vanished when Blue Valley North's Cody Fuchs blasted a three-run triple to right to put the Mustangs up 11-10 in the seventh. The Mustangs added another run for the 12-10 lead. But Lawrence answered in the bottom half of the inning.

Tyler Blankenship scored after singling to cut the lead to 12-11. But the tying run, David Arnett, who also reached on a single, was tossed out after trying to score on a passed ball that hit the backstop.

With two outs, Matt Lane walked and Chris Coleman was hit by a pitch. Jarid Moore then walked, setting the scene for Moreno and Puckett.

"It's so exciting," Puckett said. "As soon as the ball touched the catcher's glove I knew we were going to state."

Bandits 13, Blue Valley North 12

Blue Valley 004 202 4 12 11 6

Bandits 500 041 3 13 5 4

WPTyler Blankenship. Highlights: David Arndt 2-for-4 with 2 runs; Cassidy Thompson 2 runs; Matt Lane 3 walks. Bandits record: 22-7. Next: State tournament in Emporia begins Thursday.

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