Outlaws swept in debut

The Lawrence Outlaws have an abundance of youth. Fortunately, so does their schedule.

After the Topeka 400 tournament was washed out over the weekend, the Outlaws played their first two games of the summer Tuesday night, and it showed.

The team’s 13-3 and 9-3 losses to the Stilwell Tigers were prime examples of high school players needing time to shake of the rust from not playing for a couple of weeks.

Case in point: Nick Ayre started the first game for Lawrence. The last time Ayre pitched in a game was May 9 at Kauffman Stadium, when Free State High lost to Blue Valley North, 9-1.

“It’s been awhile,” Ayre said with a smirk.

Based on Tuesday’s performance, it’s going to take awhile for the Outlaws to start clicking on the field, especially given the fact that coach Brad Romme only has 13 players to put out on the field.

“The core of this team is kids who are going to be juniors and seniors at Free State, so I’m familiar with them,” said Romme, who also serves as an assistant with the Firebirds. “We’re kind of caught in a numbers deal, but were not pouting about it. We’re just going to keep coming out there and playing hard.”

Andy Petz was one of just three Outlaws to register a hit in the first game, cut short by the mercy rule in the fifth inning. Ayre gave up eight earned runs in the loss.

The Outlaws (0-2) committed four errors in the first game and three in the second, obvious signs of some needed fine tuning in a fresh season.

The Tigers (2-0) ripped the second game wide open in the fourth with three runs off five hits.

“I think everyone’s just getting back. We’re getting used to each other,” Petz said. “We showed some really good things in the game. We just need to build off those every time we come out to play. We need to keep getting better and just compete.”

Petz said his high school coach, Mike Hill of Free State, has a favorite saying: “You can’t have your great days and your bad days. You just have to have a good day everyday.”

The Outlaws will look for their first good day Friday at a tournament at Baker University. They will play their first game at 9 a.m.