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Sports

Raiders take title

June 4, 2012

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— After suffering a run-rule loss in their Mid-America Tournament opener, the Lawrence Raiders rebounded quite nicely.

Two days after that ignominious debut, the city’s Legion baseball team won two games — including a revenge game against that first-round foe — to win the tournament title Sunday.

The Raiders beat Natural Baseball, 8-3, in the semifinal to avenge that opening loss and the Kansas City Bombers, 6-3, in the title game.

“All these guys were coming off the high school season, and most of them were coming off emotional state tournaments,” Raiders coach Brad Romme said. “I thought it would take them awhile to adjust, but after that first game, they were locked in.”

Especially on the mound.

Though Lawrence banged out 20 hits in the two games Sunday, the bigger story was pitching.

Loaded with position players but short on arms, Romme needed his starters to last, and they delivered. Trent Johnson (1-0) threw a complete-game six hitter in the semifinal, and Corbin Francisco (1-0) threw a complete-game seven hitter in the championship.

In five tournament games, the Raiders had four complete-game performances.

“I never had to go to the bullpen,” Romme said. “That was incredibly impressive.”

The Raiders (4-1) will host Kansas City Millhouse at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Lawrence High stadium.

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