For three innings Saturday, Lawrence High’s baseball team benefited from a couple of fortuitous bounces and built an early lead against Blue Valley Northwest in the final game of the River City Festival at Kansas University’s Hoglund Ballpark.
In the fifth inning, the Lions went from getting breaks to being broken, as BVNW sent 17 batters to the plate and scored 12 runs on 11 hits to turn a one-run lead into a 14-2, five-inning victory.
“We got some breaks early, and I really thought we were going to be able to take advantage of that,” LHS coach Brad Stoll said.
It never happened.
After jumping to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, LHS senior starter Albert Minnis found trouble during the next two innings. In the third, with runners at first and second, a lined shot off the bat of Blake Heenan turned into a double play. But in the fourth, Minnis walked a batter and gave up two singles to give BVNW two runs and a lead it never gave back.
Two LHS errors and four BVNW hits to open the fifth chased Minnis, and reliever Garrett Cleavinger surrendered two doubles and a triple before LHS recorded an out.
In the bottom of the fifth, Landon Moseley was hit by a pitch and later scored on an RBI single from Minnis. But BVNW reliever Jason Adam and his mid-90s fastball slammed the door.
The loss dropped Lawrence to 3-6.
“If we clump the tourney together as one loss, that will help us move forward and bounce back next week with a fresh start,” said senior Chase McElhaney, who had one of the Lions’ three hits — a triple in the fourth.