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Archive for Sunday, June 19, 2005

Raiders easily advance

Squad strikes early, earns spot in today’s semis

June 19, 2005

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This time, there was no late-inning rally for the Lawrence Raiders. None was needed.

After coming from six runs down Friday to defeat Manhattan, the Raiders took it easy Saturday, simply playing solid baseball in a 10-2, run-rule American Legion victory over Topeka Post 1 at Free State Field.

With the victory, the Raiders improved to 4-0 in the Lawrence Invitational and earned a spot in today's semifinals.

"We played well enough to win some tight games early, and to find a way to win (Friday) night was a big boost for us," Raiders coach Kevin Tucker said. "We hope we can carry it over (today)."

Lawrence made sure its final game in pool play would not be close, scoring early and often against Topeka hurler John Stadler.

The Raiders struck for four runs in the first, with Tommy Fitzgerald, Tyler Knight and Will Falk each contributing RBI hits.

Lawrence then added a pair in the second, as Brian Heere's double was followed with singles from Fitzgerald and Brett Lisher.

The cushion would be more than enough for Raiders starter Matt Wingert.

The right-hander kept the Topeka hitters off-balance all night, allowing just two hits and two runs in a complete-game effort.

"I just tried to stay in a rhythm, and I did that," Wingert said. "All my pitches were working for me."

Nine-hole batter Matt Falk gave the game a premature end in the sixth inning, lining an RBI single into left field to enforce the eight-after-five run rule.

The Raiders pounded 14 hits in the game and were led by Falk's three. Fitzgerald, Heere and Lisher each added a pair of hits in the win.

"We had timely hitting at the plate," Tucker said. "It was just a well-rounded, clean game."

The team remained focused despite an on-field distraction: The field umpire was asked to leave the game in the second inning after being cited for inappropriate conduct.

The Raiders and Outlaws will have a shot at the tournament championship today, with both teams earning one-seeds in their respective pools.

The Raiders will play Topeka Post 74 at 10 a.m. in the semifinals, and the Outlaws will follow at 12:30 p.m. against the Manhattan 17ers.

The winners of the two games will meet in the championship at 3 p.m. All three matchups will be played at Free State.

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