From the first pitch on, Ian Henricks’ pace on the mound was noticeably quick for the Lawrence High baseball team.
In fact, the senior starter got into such a groove that he often spent time waiting for Leavenworth’s batters to step back into the box.
Henricks wanted to keep firing.
“Yeah, I always want quick tempo,” Henricks said. “Keep the game moving.”
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound righty did just that for the Lions in an 8-3 win over the Pioneers Thursday at LHS. Henricks struck out seven batters in a complete-game effort.
“I had just told the team I was really, really proud of Ian,” said LHS coach Brad Stoll after the game. “He grinded it out ... really pleased with him.”
After allowing two walks and a single within the first two innings of the game, Henricks retired seven straight batters in the middle innings.
Henricks also allowed just four hits, which were scattered throughout his outing. After the single by Leavenworth third baseman Chase Broeker in the second, Henricks didn’t allow another hit until late in the fifth.
“I just attacked them with my fastball,” Henricks said. “And off-speed when I needed it. But fastball command was what helped me tonight.”
However, that hit in the fifth, a two-run single by Christian Torres, scored the first runs for the Pioneers. Leavenworth added another run in the seventh, and Stoll said there was some consideration in removing Henricks late in the game.
Stoll ultimately opted not to, and Henricks rewarded him. He forced three straight groundouts in the seventh to end the game.
“We talked about it. (Assistant coach Adam Green) was pretty adamant about letting him finish it,” Stoll said. “I thought he deserved to go out and finish it. His pitch count was low, and he did (finish). He grinded it out.”
LHS (4-5) provided plenty of run support for Henricks. The Lions batted around in the first and scored four runs behind an RBI single from Garrett Romero, a sacrifice fly from Caleb Mondi and four drawn walks.
The Lions recorded eight hits on the night, and many of those hits were hard-hit balls over the heads of the Leavenworth infielders.
“Really proud of our approach at the plate tonight,” Stoll said. “On a windy day like this, most kids want to try to lift the ball and get it out of the yard. We had at least seven balls just smoked right at guys. We don’t talk about batting average, we just talk about hitting the ball hard and having good at-bats, and I was really pleased with that tonight.”
Catcher Austin Quick added on more runs in the sixth, when he hit a two-run double into the left field gap, which scored outfielder Reese Carmona and designated hitter Devin Lauts.
“With two outs, just trying to hit the ball hard somewhere,” Quick said. “I didn’t kill that ball, but I just placed it perfectly right in that gap and it worked out.”
Romero delivered an RBI single later in the inning. Quick said he thinks the offense is starting to come together for LHS, which has rebounded from a 1-4 start to the season.
“The juniors are doing a really good job,” said Quick, who also walked twice against Leavenworth. “Garrett and Hank (Dobson) have been hitting really well, and Payton (Cummins) and Caleb (Mondi) have been getting on, too. They’re having really good at-bats. Offensively, as a team, we’re doing a lot better.”
LHS will next play host to Olathe North at 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Leavenworth 000 020 1 — 3 4 1
Lawrence High 410 003 x — 8 8 0
W—Henricks. L—Kruz Wahwahsuck.
2B—Torres, Leavenworth; Quick, LHS.
LHS highlights—Henricks, 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 7 K; Andrew Stewart, 2 for 3, run, hit by pitch; Carmona, 1 for 2, two walks, three runs; Quick, 1 for 2, two walks, two runs, 2 RBI; Romero, 2 for 4, 2 RBI.