Pitching problems early and late doomed the Lawrence Raiders to an 8-7 Legion baseball loss to Olathe South on Wednesday at Ice Field.
Travis Mills homered as part of a three-run first inning for O-South.
The Raiders rallied and used a four-run seventh for a 5-3 lead, but the Falcons took advantage of a string of walks and hit batters to take the lead for good in a five-run eighth.
“There are a lot of ways to win games,” Raiders coach Wilson Kilmer said. “We could have pitched better early or later. We took the lead and then we gave it away.
“We had a chance to come back where we could have won it with bats, but we just tried too hard instead of trusting our execution.”
For most of the night, Lawrence starter Mitch Whitson, a recent Lawrence High graduate, dominated.
He went 72⁄3 innings despite the rocky start.
“I wish I could take back that one pitch to the kid who hit the home run,” Whitson said. “But the rest of the night, I didn’t allow any runs. I threw a lot of strikes, and I didn’t walk too many. So I felt like I pitched pretty well.”
Kilmer pulled Whitson in the eighth, after the Falcons pulled within a run at 5-4.
“For most of the night, Mitch was on the mound,” Kilmer said. “He gave away three (runs) in the first inning, but after that he pitched really well.
“Mitch pitched really well for us. But he ran out of juice and I thought it was time to get someone fresh in there.”
Olathe South scored four more runs off relievers Ben Wyatt and Tanner Kilmer to take the lead for good.
The Raiders rallied with a two-run eighth, but couldn’t catch the Falcons.
“We’ve got to execute better,” Wilson Kilmer said. “We had the bases loaded four times. We need to have better at-bats when we are in scoring position. But you just have to get over it and go on to the next one. The good thing about baseball is that there is always another game.”
The Raiders (11-15) next will face the Kansas City Bullets at 10:30 a.m. today in the first game of the Kansas State University Invitational in Manhattan.