It was Mark Herbster who got the win pitching for Topeka Post 400, defeating the Lawrence Outlaws, 5-2, in the final round-robin game of the Outlaw Tournament.
But it was second baseman Bryce Wood who made him look good.
Wood was a nemesis for the Outlaws both with the bat and the glove Saturday at Free State High. Defensively, he saved three tough grounders from exiting the infield. Then, with his team leading 3-2, he hit a bases-loaded double in the top of the seventh inning to put the game out of reach.
Herbster knew it just was a matter of time until his teammates showed the offensive ability that produced 13 runs in a victory against Lansing hours earlier.
"My defense has been there all year, and I don't strike that many guys out," Herbster said. "I had my head down a little bit when we lost the lead. When I got the lead back, I was just ready to go back out there and get the last six outs."
Topeka took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning after its first two batters reached on a walk and a bunt single. However, for the next four innings, Outlaws pitcher Chris Gabriel mowed down his opponents, striking out six batters through five innings.
While Topeka's bats were silent, Lawrence played small-ball to get runs across in both the fourth and fifth innings, taking a 2-1 lead after five.
Topeka answered in the top of the sixth inning thanks to two walks, a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly and finally an RBI single by left fielder Bret Perry.
Lawrence had a good opportunity to do some damage in the bottom half of the inning when shortstop Paul Johnson legged-out an infield single with one out. Instead, Johnson was caught stealing second by Topeka catcher Mitch Metzler. Outlaw first baseman Will Falk followed by striking out, and Lawrence's offensive prowess did not make an appearance the rest of the night, as they went down 1-2-3 in the seventh inning.
"I'm sure Will was a little disappointed he didn't get the bat on the ball in the hit-and-run, but I don't think that took anything out of them," Outlaws coach Matt Schubert said. "(Topeka 400) is a real good team, and Chris held them to only four hits, which I think is an outstanding job."
The loss makes the Outlaws 2-1 for the weekend, and puts them second in the A-Bracket behind Topeka, which is 3-0. The Outlaws will face Ottawa, second in the B-Bracket, today at 3 p.m. at FSHS. Ottawa defeated Parsons on Saturday, 4-3.
Topeka 400 will play in the tournament's final game at 5:30 against North Kansas City, which won twice by a combined score of 16-2.