After a 2-1 loss to Rogers (Ark.) on Thursday at Hoglund Ballpark, Lawrence High baseball players and coaches know it’s easy to focus on the small mistakes.
There was a fly ball that was lost in the sun in the first inning, which led to a run. In the ninth inning, Rogers pinch-runner Jeb Brain scored on a passed ball on an attempted squeeze bunt.
But LHS coach Brad Stoll was disappointed by the lack of quality at-bats, which didn’t allow the Lions to overcome any of their defensive mistakes.
“Bottom line is we had six quality at-bats in a nine-inning game,” Stoll said. “That ain’t going to cut it.”
Lawrence senior right-hander Gavin Greenwood allowed only run in eight innings pitched, striking out four without any walks.
Greenwood has only allowed two runs in his past three starts, using his off-speed pitches to push hitters out of rhythm.
“Total heart, guts and soul right there,” Stoll said. “Just pitched to contact and for the most part we played good defense behind him.”
Greenwood added: “Just confidence. I feel like when I need a strike, I can throw my fastball for a strike.”
After Rogers scored a run in the first inning when a fly ball dropped in shallow right field, the Lions (5-6) responded with a run in the fourth inning. LHS junior Devin Lauts hit a leadoff single, advanced on a pair of passed balls, and scored on a sacrifice fly from junior Austin Quick.
But against Rogers pitchers, Mason Griffin and Matthew Watson, the Lions struck out 10 times and were limited to three hits.
“Offensively tonight, I think we just lost a little bit of the aggressiveness that we’ve been hanging our hat on in the last four or five games,” Stoll said.
After the Lions tied the score, Greenwood limited base runners and the LHS defense was ready to help out.
Shortstop Andrew Stewart vacuumed a couple of balls up the middle and Quick threw out a runner trying to steal second base. Even in the first inning, first baseman Hank Dobson threw a runner out at the plate.
But the Lions couldn’t capitalize when they held Rogers scoreless. They stranded two runners in scoring position in the fifth inning, then didn’t have another player reach base in their final four frames.
“We’ll be better off for it in May and that’s why we play it,” Stoll said. “I’d rather lose on April 20 and be better for it and win it on May 20, I’ll tell you that.”
Lawrence will face Jefferson City (Mo.) at 8 p.m. today at LHS.
Rogers 100 000 001 — 2 9 0
Lawrence 000 100 000— 1 3 3
W — Matthew Watson. L — Austin Quick.
LHS highlights — Gavin Greenwood, 8 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K; Devin Lauts, 1-for-4, run; Caleb Mondi, 1-for-3; Hank Dobson, 1-for-3.