Short-handed Raiders roll over Emporia

You’d think a baseball team missing five of its players for a doubleheader would be hurting.

Not if you’re the Lawrence Raiders, with one of the deepest rosters around.

The Raiders pulverized Emporia, 11-0, in the first game of Saturday’s American Legion twinbill, then claimed a 6-5 win in Game Two.

“That tells you about the depth of our team,” Raiders coach Carl Brooks said. “We can play without five players and still be successful. I’ve never had a team with this much depth. This is clearly the most talented group I’ve had in Lawrence. The nice part is that they all get along.”

Three of those missing in action were all-state performers Matt Lane, Andrew Pyle and Matt Berner, who were playing in the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches All-Star Game across town at Kansas University’s Hoglund Ballpark.

No matter.

The Raiders (7-0) just went to work in the opener and came away with 11 runs on 11 hits, sparked by a four-run second inning and a six-run fourth.

Seven of the Raiders’ nine starters registered at least one hit.

The Raiders came up with four doubles in the opener, with three coming in the third.

Taylor Martin held Emporia (4-4) to four hits while striking out five to improve his record to 2-0.

Raiders pitcher Nate Burman fires a pitch to an Emporia batter in the second game of a doubleheader. The Raiders swept the twinbill, 11-0 and 6-5, Saturday at Free State High.

“It’s really nice to know you have that (run) support,” Martin said. “I’m getting used to that.”

Martin stopped using his arm and started swinging his bat in the second game, coming up with a two-out, three-run triple to give his club a 3-2 lead heading into the second inning.

Emporia, despite coming away with only four hits, hung around by manufacturing runs off fielding errors, walks and hit batters.

“We were a little flat coming out after we handled them in the first game, but we never felt we were in danger of losing the game,” Brooks said.

The Raiders again racked up 11 hits, including two triples and three doubles, in the nightcap.

The last double sealed the win for Lawrence after a ball hit by Raider third baseman Kyle Unruh dropped over the head of the Emporia right fielder minutes before heavy raindrops hit Free State High’s field.

“I saw him last year,” Unruh said of Emporia pitcher Brian Turner. “I knew he didn’t have too many tricks up his sleeve.”

The eighth-inning hit brought home shortstop Aaron Madill from second base.

Raider pitcher Blake Dickson relieved Nate Burman in the fifth inning and picked up his first win of the year with four strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings.

Raiders outfielder Derek Bailey, left, makes a catch as he is backed up by David Arndt. The Raiders swept an American Legion baseball doubleheader with Emporia, 11-0 and 6-5, Saturday at Free State High.

The Raiders will play at Junction City today.

Raiders 11-6, Emporia 0-5

First game

Emporia 0 000 0 — 0 4 3

Raiders 1 406 x — 11 11 2

WP–Taylor Martin (2-0). LP–Chris McLinn (1-1)

2B–Raiders: Tyler Blankenship, Derek Bailey, Chris Coleman, Dominick Harrell

Second game

Emporia 210 200 00 — 5 4 2

Raiders 301 010 01 — 6 11 4

WP–Dickson (1-0). LP–Turner (1-1).

2B–Raiders: Tommy Mangino, Harrell, Unruh. Emporia: Nick Cannales. 3B — Raiders: Martin, David Arndt.