Archive for Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Lions speedy in doubleheader sweep

April 5, 2006


From base stealing to bench players retrieving foul balls, the Lawrence High baseball squad was on the run in its doubleheader sweep of Leavenworth on Tuesday at Ice Field.

In the first game, Leavenworth mounted a six-run seventh inning. But in the bottom of the seventh, a pinch-hit suicide squeeze by Lawrence's Sean Muder scored Brian Heere with the game-winning run as the Lions prevailed, 8-7.

"You don't pinch-hit squeeze very often, but I knew that Sean Muder has got unbelievable bat control, and he's a pretty calm kid - a pretty cool customer - and he executed it flawlessly," LHS coach Brad Stoll said.

Prior to scoring on Daniel Parker's RBI in the first inning, Heere stole Lawrence's first base of the night - a theme of both games.

Heere had stolen second base in the bottom of the seventh before advancing to third on a Parker bunt to set up the squeeze. Tony Williams and Michael Sickinger each stole a base, and Tyler Knight added two thefts.

However, John Novotny was the most impressive, stealing three straight bases in the bottom half of LHS' six-run second inning of game two.

"We work every day on reading the pitchers and reading their timing. That's all it is - just the matter of getting the timing and getting a good jump," said Novotny, whose two-out single with the bases loaded in the fourth scored the Lions' final two runs in the run-rule 10-0 victory.

LHS stole another six bases in the second game, with Marc Albers picking up the game's first. However, Albers' next two at-bats were the offensive story.

First, he hit a two-run home run over the left-field wall. Two innings later, with two outs, he smacked a two-run blast in the same location.

"Two home runs per game probably isn't going to happen all the time, but what we expect out of him is juicing balls in the gap and getting some RBIs," Stoll said. "Because the two guys ahead of him are going to get on base, and they both can run."

The Lions' pitching was just as spectacular in game two. A 9-7 strikeouts-to-walks ratio won't completely impress a coach. But throw in that stat accompanied by a no-hitter, and Sam Harwood's varsity pitching debut was more than noteworthy.

"I was just throwing the right way, stopped thinking about stuff and just started playing catch," the left-handed Harwood said.

"I guess he was effectively wild. He wasn't on target there early, but to his credit he found the breaking ball," Stoll said. "But the best part of the night was, he walks the lead-off guy, and he picks him off. It just set the tone and it shut everything down and sent all the momentum in his direction."

LHS' Jordan Guntert pitched 61â3 innings for a no decision in game one. He had seven strikeouts before relinquishing to Albers with the bases loaded and a four-run lead.

The Lions will play host Thursday to Shawnee Mission West.


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