Brad Stoll calls him “a late Christmas present for Lawrence High baseball” and pitcher Albert Minnis certainly has been the antithesis of a lump of coal.
A junior left-hander, Minnis allowed two singles, struck out 12 and walked none in a route-going 2-0 victory over Shawnee Mission Northwest Tuesday at Ice Field.
Minnis transferred to Lawrence High a couple of months ago from Kansas City, Mo., Park Hill High.
“Anytime you have a move-in, you worry about team chemistry,” Lions’ coach Stoll said, “but that’s been no problem at all. He fits in great with our guys.”
Minnis isn’t just any move-in, either. He is regarded as one of the best young pitching talents in the Kansas City Metro area. So far Minnis has been close to untouchable. He blanked Shawnee Heights, 8-0, in his last start.
“He came in with a lot of hype,” Lawrence senior catcher Jake Green said, “and I feel he hasn’t let anybody down. His fastball runs a lot, and his slider is absolutely filthy.”
Minnis, who parents are divorced, moved to Lawrence to live with his dad Bryan who works for Alvamar Inc. Admittedly, he was torn about leaving Park Hill in the middle of his junior year.
“They’re a great bunch of guys,” he said of his Park Hill teammates, “but family comes first. It wasn’t an easy decision, though. I slept on it for two or three weeks.”
On Tuesday, Minnis put most of SM Northwest’s bats to sleep. The Cougars hit only four balls to the outfield. Two were singles by Adam Jacalone who should have had three singles, but he was thrown out at first by Tyler Bailey in the seventh after slamming a rope that landed in front of the Lions’ right-fielder.
“You don’t see that very often in 6A baseball,” Stoll said. “The kid just hit it too hard right at (Bailey).”
Minnis appeared to be tiring when Jacalone hit that screamer in front of Bailey, but he responded by recording a pair of strikeouts for a complete game.
“That saved my butt,” Minnis said of Bailey’s heads-up throw. “Without that play I wouldn’t have made seven (innings).”
The Lions scored all the runs Minnis needed in the third inning on two walks and RBI singles by Green and Tanner Kilmer.
After opening the season with a couple of losses at a tournament in Oklahoma, the Lions have now posted three straight shutout victories.
Lawrence High will try to keep its goose-egg streak going against Olathe North on Thursday at Ice Field. Senior Dorian Green is the Lions’ scheduled pitcher.