Archive for Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Raiders cruise in opener

Bailey powers Lawrence to 12-2 victory in Legion zone tourney

July 23, 2003


So this is what happens when the Lawrence Raiders get serious.

Or at least Derek Bailey.

Bailey's three-run home run -- which cleared the center-field fence by 15 feet -- sparked the Raiders to a 12-2 victory over the Blue Valley Huskies Tuesday night in their American Legion Zone II baseball tournament at Free State Field.

The top-seeded Raiders weren't sharp to start, but Bailey rectified that with one swing.

"We came out flat," Bailey said. "All year we've just been playing the game, and we haven't had to push. But we're starting to get the feeling that this could be our last tournament, and we have to play well."

Lawrence (33-12) trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom half of the second inning when Bailey mashed the first pitch from Joe Schlatter. The Raiders added three more runs in the third after second baseman Tyler Blankenship drew a bases-loaded walk and Bailey followed with a two-run, ground-rule double.

Bailey ripped another two-run double in the sixth inning, which pushed the Raider lead to 11-2 and gave Bailey seven RBIs on a 3-for-4 night.

"Derek was just an animal with the bat in his hands tonight," Raiders coach Carl Brooks said. "He set the tempo with his aggressiveness. It changed the game and just ignited us."

He wasn't the only one.

Designated hitter Taylor Martin was 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored, while first baseman Matt Lane also had two doubles.

The Raiders had nine extra-base hits against the overmatched Huskies (11-13), who, all things considered, didn't play that bad. They just couldn't compete with Lawrence's talent -- or its pitching.

Aaron Madill (7-0) pitched all seven innings, throwing just over 100 pitches. He allowed six hits and one earned run while striking out nine.

But that was better than most teams fare.

"That's not a bad team," Brooks said. "That's as well as anybody has hit him all year."

Matt Lane will start for the Raiders in their semifinal at 8 tonight against Olathe MAAE, which trounced Blue Valley West, 14-0, in five innings Tuesday. The Falcons ripped seven hits and posted five runs in the first inning, and pitcher Will Atkins held BV West to just one hit.

The Raiders opened their season by sweeping South, but are wary of the team they saw Tuesday.

"I guarantee that's not the same team," Bailey said. "We'll have to come out ready to play."

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