Advertisement

High School Sports

High School Sports

Garrett Cleavinger carries LHS baseball past FSHS

Lawrence High's Garrett Cleavinger, left, slaps hands with Trevor Champagne after Cleavinger struck out the final Free State batter during Lawrence High's game against Free State Monday, May 7, 2012 at LHS.

Lawrence High's Garrett Cleavinger, left, slaps hands with Trevor Champagne after Cleavinger struck out the final Free State batter during Lawrence High's game against Free State Monday, May 7, 2012 at LHS.

May 8, 2012

Advertisement

Lawrence High baseball coach Brad Stoll probably didn’t have to say anything to senior starting pitcher Garrett Cleavinger before the Lions’ Senior Night game Monday against rival Free State.

The LHS coach did anyway, telling his ace left-handed hurler the city showdown was his stage.

“He kind of looked at me like he was gonna knock me out if I took him out of the game,” Stoll said of the strong-armed Cleavinger.

The Lions’ coach never had to test the southpaw’s patience or punch. Cleavinger surrendered just three hits and struck out nine Firebirds for a 3-1 complete-game victory in his final home appearance at LHS.

Cleavinger took it upon himself to deny FSHS any chance of celebrating on Lawrence’s home field.

“It was nine of our guys’ last game here,” Cleavinger said of the Lions’ graduating seniors, “so it’s obviously important to all of us. Me being a pitcher, and being a senior pitcher, you don’t want to come out. You want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to help your team win.”

Lawrence (11-8) had just enough to back Cleavinger as he dueled the Free State pitching trio of sophomore Ryan Cantrell and juniors Jacob Caldwell and Sam Hearnen, who each threw two innings apiece and combined to yield just three hits.

The rivalry game was tied, 1-1, through 41⁄2 innings. Firebirds starter Cantrell and Caldwell had combined to retire 12 straight LHS batters before Lions sophomore catcher Drew Green delivered an opposite-field single to open the bottom of the fifth against Hearnen.

Green’s courtesy runner, Adam Rea, advanced to second when Cleavinger grounded the ball to FSHS third baseman Cameron Pope, whose throw to second for a force was dropped. With two on and no outs, Lawrence senior Trevor Champagne moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt.

LHS senior Landon Hay squared to bunt when a wild pitch allowed Rea to score, giving Lawrence a 2-1 edge.

After Hay grounded out to Hearnen, sophomore Kieran Severa knocked in Cleavinger with a single to give the Lions a 3-1 lead.

As coach Mike Hill has said before of his Firebirds (8-11), offensive struggles placed enormous pressure on their defense and pitchers to be perfect, which isn’t possible. Hill said even professional baseball players make mistakes.

“The few that we make,” Hill said, “get magnified because of where we are offensively.”

Free State’s only run came in the top of the third. With one out, Cleavinger walked Joel Spain and Montana Samuels back-to-back. Junior Lee McMahon capitalized on the walks with an RBI single to center field that tied the game, 1-1.

Pope said the two-run loss was frustrating.

“We’ve had a lot (of similar games) this year,” the sophomore said. “It’s the same thing over and over.”

Samuels said there wasn’t much difference between the two rivals.

“It’s just a matter of executing on offense,” Samuels said. “They (LHS) executed that one inning when they had guys in scoring position, and we didn’t. And that was the difference in the game.”

Hill said the Firebirds have to be better offensively. The coach pointed to the top of the first, when Cleavinger caught Joe Dineen on the move. The pitcher threw to first baseman Matt Sutliffe, who quickly got the ball to shortstop Troy Willoughby at second for the pick-off tag.

Plus, FSHS had runners on first and third with one out in the third before Cleavinger struck out Anthony Miele and got JD Prochaska to pop out.

“We had a couple opportunities to get something going there,” Hill said, “and we don’t.”

Lawrence jumped to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Shane Willoughby doubled to the right-field gap for what proved to be the game’s only extra-base hit. Junior CJ Stuever moved him to third with a groundout, and senior Troy Willoughby drove his younger brother home with a sacrifice fly to center.

Shane said the Lions had hoped for more offense, but three hits did the job.

“We knew Garrett was gonna deal, and he did,” Shane said of Lawrence’s ace. “We got him three runs, and if we get Garrett Cleavinger three runs, we’ll win.”

The Lions and Firebirds square off again in the regular-season finale for both teams at 7 p.m. Thursday at Kansas University’s Hoglund Ballpark.

Comments

lhsalum 1 year, 11 months ago

He_who_knows I agree that being a boy scout means a lot and may look better than playing high school baseball, but I believe being a collegiate athlete speaks much louder than being an Eagle Scout. You can't get to college ball without high school ball.

0

dizthewiz 1 year, 11 months ago

You are absolutely right he_who_knows. I suppose it is a trade off either way because one figures their children get other things out of the experience as they grow up and of course, it could be spent on a lot worse things:)

0

he_who_knows_all 1 year, 11 months ago

I wonder if you would have enough money to send your kids to college on your own if you just saved all of the money you'd spent on your kids baseball teams instead.? Just a thought.

Don't get me wrong...I love baseball but I just think it's rediculous what some parents spend on youth sports when only a small percentage get scholarships and even less get full ones.

0

dizthewiz 1 year, 11 months ago

Congratulations to your son, getting to keep playing and get his schooling paid for is a double bonus for you and him. I get it. Many of the parents I know whose kids did go D-1 last year don't have huge incomes, they found a way. Very nice people to boot.

0

dagger 1 year, 11 months ago

Not cheapening it at all. Most D1 coaches go to local area codes and showcases. These can be expensive. Playing on a summer team that can get you that exposure is also very expensive. I don't begrudge anyone that can afford it. My point was not everyone can. Asking about your playing was just my curiosity. I'd bet much of what these families pay for and do to get exposure for kids is different then it was in the 80's. I'm a mom, and my senior has played since he was 7. I've paid for many summer travel teams and a couple showcases. My son is not going D1 but I'm happy one of his team mates is. Good for you trying to turn it around on me, feel better? Once again, I'm proud of all these boys. They are a great team and great friends.

0

dizthewiz 1 year, 11 months ago

Sooooo......you are making it sound like the players getting D-1 scholarships are dishing out money to get them?? Talk about making their hard work sound cheap. Back in the 80's and you??

0

dagger 1 year, 11 months ago

No chip here. When was it you played college baseball?

0

dizthewiz 1 year, 11 months ago

Wasn't trying to make it sound bad. Of course all the boys playing at the next level in the coming year have put in a lot of time playing baseball. I guess last year was just a really big year for Kansas.........this year is back to the norm. When was the last time you remember the state of Kansas having 2 sign MLB contracts and 12 sign to play D-1? Brush the chip off your shoulder.

0

dagger 1 year, 11 months ago

You make it sound super simple. The road to a D1 school is very expensive, not to mention paying for a kid to go to the school. Please don't cheapen all the work all these boys have put in. They are all going to college and continuing to play a game they love. I'm proud of all of them, Free State boys included.

0

dagger 1 year, 11 months ago

I'm not sure about Free State's boys but all LHS seniors but one are playing ball in college. The last boy is expected to also. I know at least 4 on Free State that are too. That's pretty impressive, I wouldn't call that a down year.

0

dizthewiz 1 year, 11 months ago

Guess he came into the season and tried to throw as hard as he could in the first scrimmage and injured it. Big kid. It is a bummer.

0

dizthewiz 1 year, 11 months ago

Both pitcing staffs gave up just 3 runs.....good pitching or bad hitting? It will be many years before Kansas sees the type of players that graduated in 2011. Two players signed professional contracts and 12 are playing D-1, not to mention all the other Junior College players and D-3 players. It was a banner year for Kansas. Baseball is down this year, kind of a bummer.

0

sierraclub 1 year, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.