Here’s how Adam Rea knew he had just pitched a pretty good game — all the guys were giving him grief in the dugout afterward.
One asked with a smile if it was his best outing of the year. Another said with a chuckle that his effort was a total fluke and that Rea had never been any good on the mound.
After pitching six strong innings in the Lawrence Raiders’ 5-2 youth baseball victory over Mac-N-Seitz Felix on Saturday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark, Rea, a Lawrence High product, said he was happy to laugh along with the jokes.
“That’s always how it’s been,” Rea said after allowing just two runs on seven hits. “Even in spring season, I always just got a bunch of crap from the guys.”
In all seriousness, though, Rea’s teammates said they were excited to see the breakout performance.
“To get that outing from him … we know that’s what he can do,” Lawrence shortstop/reliever Shane Willoughby said. “It’s good to have him back in the groove like that.”
Much of Rea’s success came because of increased command. In some of his past appearances, the right-hander didn’t feel completely comfortable with all three of his pitches.
“I think I spotted up a lot better than I had the past couple games,” Rea said. “I had a lot of control over my breaking ball as well as my change-up and my fastball.”
Rea also was able to work out of trouble. Though seven Mac-N-Seitz runners advanced to scoring position in the first six innings, only two of those men scored.
“Just super, super competitiveness today, especially with guys on base,” Lawrence coach Brad Romme said. “It seemed like he had a guy on second base every inning, and he just bore down and made pitches.”
The Raiders — aided by good plate discipline — picked up all the offense they would need in a five-run fifth.
Five of Lawrence’s first seven batters in the frame reached via a walk before the team’s first hit of the inning.
That came from Willoughby, who lined a 2-0 fastball to left to make it 3-1.
“When a guy’s thrown eight straight balls, you look for one pitch,” Willoughby said, “and he threw it right inside where I was looking.”
Drew Green followed with an RBI bloop single to right, and Lee McMahon plated the final run when he was plunked by a Conner Davis pitch.
“We’re kind of a small team, so we’re not going to have too many guys hitting the ball over the fence or into the gap too much,” Willoughby said. “It’s nice when we can be disciplined and get a couple free bases every now and then and take advantage of that.”
Willoughby closed the game in the seventh, pitching a scoreless frame while amping his fastball into the upper 80s.
The Raiders won despite mustering just three hits, two of those coming from Green.
Lawrence, now 2-0-1 in the KU Tournament, will finish up the weekend with a 9 a.m. game today against Wichita Reds Lopez at Free State.
Mac-N-Seitz Felix 010 001 0 — 2 8 0
Lawrence Raiders 000 050 x — 5 3 0
W — Adam Rea. L — Conrad McMahon. SV — Shane Willoughby.
2B — Thomas Williams 2, MNS; Josh Scribnet, MNS; Blake Power, MNS.
Lawrence Raiders highlights — Adam Rea 6 IP, 7H, 2 ER, BB, 2K; Drew Green 2-for-3, RBI; Shane Willoughby 1-for-3, RBI; Lee McMahon 0-for-1, BB, HBP, R, RBI.