Eudora If Lawrence Renegades coach Lynn Harrod loves baseball because of its unpredictable beauty, then Tuesday was a terrific example of the game going in minutes from awesome to ugly.
The Renegades' 3-2 victory over Topeka Post 400 at Eudora High, which the Renegades won in the bottom of the ninth inning, quickly became moot in the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader.
Spence Chaney, who in the first game pitched Lawrence out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth and provided the game-winning single in the ninth, was one of several Renegades who struggled in the second game. Chaney committed one of Lawrence's three errors in the top of the first that opened the floodgates for Topeka, which easily defeated the Renegades, 10-2.
Despite the loss, the Renegades have won 14 of their last 16 games.
"It's horrible, but it has to happen," Harrod said. "That's what all the other sports don't understand about this game. Even the Yankees get beat like that sometimes, but they have to go on. And so do we."
The Renegades had reason to be excited after the first game.
Lawrence's Cal Heinrich cranked a two-run homer over the left-field fence in the bottom of the first, giving the Renegades a 2-0 lead.
A pitching duel between Lawrence's Seth Johnson and Topeka's Dustin Damme then dominated the game until the eighth, when Johnson loaded the bases with a walk and one out. Chaney relieved and retired Topeka, starting his heroics.
With the score still tied in the ninth, Heinrich laced a two-out double. Pinch hitter Tom Bush smacked a single to right, but it wasn't deep enough to score Devon Myers, who ran for Heinrich.
It didn't matter. Chaney blasted a single up the middle for the win and the brief moment of baseball beauty.
"I don't think we were too excited coming off the win, we just weren't in the second one mentally," Chaney said.
That showed when Lawrence committed six errors behind starting pitcher John Parker.
Ryne Jackson and Brett Urban combined for six of Lawrence's seven hits.
The Renegades (16-8) hope to improve when they travel today to Leavenworth for two games, then play in this weekend's wood-bat Keystone Baseball Blowout in Shawnee.
"We'll try to emphasize the positives tonight," Harrod said.