Archive for Friday, May 9, 2008

Crosstown repeat

Free State builds early lead, spoils Lawrence’s night again

FSHS senior Cody Lown prepares to deal to the plate. Lown pitched Free State to a 4-3 victory against LHS on Thursday at Hoglund Ballpark.

FSHS senior Cody Lown prepares to deal to the plate. Lown pitched Free State to a 4-3 victory against LHS on Thursday at Hoglund Ballpark.

May 9, 2008


LHS, Free State baseball go at it again

The Free State baseball team only had one day to celebrate it's Wednesday night victory before again taking on its crosstown rival, the Lawrence Lions. Enlarge video

Anything you can do, we can do better.

So said the Free State High baseball team Thursday in the form of a 4-3 victory over crosstown rival Lawrence High at Hoglund Ballpark.

One night after spotting the Lions a 4-0 lead and coming back to win, the Firebirds scored four runs in the first inning Thursday, but held on to win for their 16th victory of the season.

"I guess that was kind of deja vu flipped, if that makes any sense," said Free State coach Mike Hill, alluding to LHS's 4-0 lead after an inning Wednesday night. "After the first, we didn't score again, but I don't think we were inept offensively. We hit some balls hard. Lawrence High just made some plays."

Free State senior Adam Rock led off and reached first base on an error, and Jordan Dreiling followed with a walk. Two batters later, senior third baseman John Wilson, who was 3-for-3 on the night, ripped a double to the right-field corner, plating Rock and Dreiling. Wilson then scored on Cody Kukuk's double over the head of LHS center fielder Dorian Green, and Kukuk came home when Alex Hardman stroked a laser down the third-base line.

Thanks to the performance of senior hurler Cody Lown, and the defense behind him, the four runs turned out to be all the Firebirds needed.

"This feels great," Wilson said. "Especially because it was against our rivals from across town. We always want to get the bats going early, and we did that tonight."

Free State's runs came on three hits. The Firebirds managed just four more hits the rest of the night. But that had as much to do with Lawrence High starter Tom Schuh as it did the Free State offense.

After a rough first inning, Schuh matched Lown pitch-for-pitch in a game that wrapped up in one hour and 15 minutes.

"It was a quick game," Hill said. "And I think that's because there were two quality teams out there playing tonight."

After sending just six batters to the plate in the first two innings, the Lions broke through in the third behind RBI hits from Aaron Rea and Devin Forio. The back-to-back, two-out hits cut the FSHS lead to 4-2, but Lown responded by recording one of his two strikeouts on the night to end the inning.

Both teams remained quiet offensively from there until the top of the seventh, when deja vu nearly struck again.

After Lown walked LHS senior Travis Sanders to start the seventh, Hill called for closer Ryan Scott, just as he had done a night earlier after Caleb Gress walked the first Lion he faced in the seventh.

Wednesday, Scott loaded the bases before striking out the final two batters of the game to pick up the save. Thursday's exploits were nearly as dramatic, as LHS first baseman Joe Kornbrust ripped Scott's first pitch to the gap in left-center field, scoring Sanders and putting the tying run at second base.

After Kornbrust advanced to third on a wild play that nearly saw him picked off, LHS coach Brad Stoll elected to roll the dice. With one out and the tying run 90 feet away, Stoll flashed the sign for a suicide squeeze. As Kornbrust broke for home, LHS's Tyler Bailey attempted to bunt the ball down the first base line. Had Bailey put his bat on the ball, Kornbrust would have scored easily. Instead, Bailey whiffed and Kornbrust was tagged out.

"I'm struggling with that," Stoll said. "I feel guilty as hell about it. I don't feel it was the right call. But I'm a hero if it works."

It didn't, and Scott struck out the final two batters he faced to pick up his second save in two days. After spending most of the season stuck in the pen because of the way the Firebirds beat up on their opponents, Scott said he was thrilled to hit the mound, even if he did have to sweat out his fourth and fifth saves of the season.

"I was a little nervous," Scott said. But mostly I was just excited to get out here finally."

The win improved the Firebirds to 16-2 on the season and put them one victory shy of tying a school record for wins in a single season. The Lions fell to 9-9.


Chesty4410 10 years, 1 month ago

Come on Plumber, are you serious? That was a great high school baseball game! It was played on a great field with an unbelievable crowd. Instead of being a jerk and calling out a head coach who was trying to give his team the best chance to win, you should congratulate both teams on one hell of a game! Coach Stoll is a great coach, but an even better person. Anyone who knows him would agree! I am proud to say it's a great day to be a lion!Good Luck Lions.

LMuder 10 years, 1 month ago

Mr Plumber,As a current LHS baseball parent who has been involved for six years with the LHS baseball program, I could not be more appalled by your comments about Coach Stoll. Coach Stoll is not only a terrific coach, but a genuinely wonderful man. I have been very pleased to have him as a role model for both of my sons. He has taught them alot about baseball and far more about life. One of the most significant things he has done, is to involve his players with special needs children in the Lawrence school district. My boys will never forget those experiences, something that definitely puts prospective on whether they win or lose a baseball game. I have no idea who you are, but judging from your screen name, you don't have a smidgen of class compared to that of Coach Stoll. If I was a Freestate parent I would be embarrassed that there are FSHS fans like you. In fact, the Freestate parents I know, and I know plenty of them, remember when Coach Stoll was an assistant coach on FSHS baseball staff, and they have nothing but accolades for the man. As far as your comments about the LHS athletic program in general, you are completely off base. We are very fortunate to have coaches and administrators who genuinely care about our kids, and abide by the "rules". We fill our teams with legitimate kids who live within the LHS boundaries. Can you say the same?Not afraid to sign my name,Laurie Muder

geniusmannumber1 10 years, 1 month ago

1) Why on earth would I be "outraged"? It's high school baseball. I might be outraged if the coach was abusive or disrespectful to his players. To be outraged about the outcome? I'm sorry, I'm not fifteen years old anymore.2) The coach may not be in the strictest sense a volunteer. But high school coaches are paid a pittance. Choosing to coach is in no way a financial decision. They coach because they want to, because they like it, because they like the opportunity to be a positive influence. They certainly don't make enough to take anonymous abuse.

LTJayhawk24 10 years, 1 month ago

plumberscrack,I, for some reason, have sat and read your posts for some time now. You are an extremely negative person and very critical of teachers and coaches who basically "donate" their time to coach kids and have a positive impact on their lives. As a LHS supporter, I'm glad that you are a Firebird. We don't want people like you on our side. We want people who believe in our coaches and our players.Coach Stoll made a gutsy call to try to win a game for his kids. It was a gamble, but it was a gamble he thought gave his team the best chance to win. Nobody wanted to win that game more than Coach Stoll. His gives his a$$ to LHS and the baseball program. He works everyday with children in our school district who have special needs. He does it because he loves kids and he loves helping other people. Maybe you need to keep a high school baseball game in perspective.So, maybe you should cut him a little slack. You also need to think about the people you touch when you post criticisms of high school coaches on this message board. I'm sure most of Lawrence High's coaches don't get on this message board to see what "the plumber" posts about them, but you need to realize that sometimes those coaches have mothers, wives, sisters, and friends who do read your crap.My advice (since you're so big on giving advice)...grow up and get a life, and think about the words you choose and the people that they touch.Congrats to Coach Hill and the Firebirds. We are very lucky to have two great baseball coaches in our town who care deeply about kids and do things right.It's a Great Day to be a Lion!

heater1427 10 years, 1 month ago

As a member of the LHS class of 2007 and a former Lion baseball player I just want plumberscrack to know how absolutely wrong he is about Coach Stoll. Coach Stoll does everything in his power to make sure his players suceed. Not just on the field but off the field as well and the relationships he builds last alot longer than the time we're in high school. Baseball like any sport is about luck. Coach Stoll took a gamble and it didnt work out. But it also comes down to players not executing fundamentally. If one or two players execute like they should then we arent having any of this discussion.And as for bcoach's comments...i dont know how you can say LHS doesnt know what winning is...105 state championships...granted the pace has slowed down since Free State opened but still just in the past four years LHS has won 3 gymnastics championships and a basketball championship to FSHS one baseball championship. So Im pretty sure the tradition of winning at LHS is pretty rooted in the mindset of the Lion faithful. And as for FSHS "hiring friends from the past not coaches from the future" many alumni coach at Free State because I know for a fact that the majority of the baseball staff are LHS grads and many of the coaches in other programs walked the same halls as the kids they coach. Let's just remember that this is friendly rivalry and the level of talent expecially at the baseball level is great for a lover of the game. Keep it up both schools...Lawrence is proud.It's a great day to be Lion!

LTJayhawk24 10 years, 1 month ago

You just clarified to me the kind of person I'm dealing with here. I am not an administrator or coach at LHS. Just a former student and loyal supporter. I'm not sure what your relationahip to Free State is, but I'm pretty sure most of the people there are a little embarassed of you right now.If you really are a Free State supporter and you feel that Free State is so much better than LHS, just enjoy the success you're having and keep your mouth shut. Support your Firebirds and stay out of our business.

geniusmannumber1 10 years, 1 month ago

How very sad. A grown man taking high school athletics seriously enough to attack a volunteer coach and a supporter of the cross town high school. LTJayhawk, you're right on here.

bcoach33 10 years, 1 month ago

We as Lions should be outraged...we have settled for being not quite good enough to the lack of class firebirds from across town long enough. Coach Stoll has had the talent but his lack of knowing what to do in crucial situation has been our demise. But it does not stop At Coach Stoll, you can look at almost every varistiy coach and see that we have settled for the pat the on the butt type coach who says it okay to be second when the cross town rivls all are aout kicking our backside. It is obviuous us who know, that the parents with better talent are moving to the other side of 15th street so that they have coaches who want to win rather than those who have no clue what winning is. From softball, to football, to track, to baseball we are out classed as well as out coached. I love red and black but wished I had moved to the green and sillver!!! Leadership comes from the top and it is very clear that we hire our friends from the past other than our coaches for the future. What red and black could of been with Coach Hill, coach Lisher, and coach Pine vs what we have settled for.

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