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Two big plays helped LHS baseball beat SM West
Lawrence High's boys baseball team won its Sunflower League and home opener, 2-0, against Shawnee Mission West. In what was essentially a pitcher's duel, with both teams using their ace, the game was essentially decided by a couple big plays that turned the tide in the Lions' favor. Below, we'll breakdown those moments.
Scene: After LHS junior Michael Sinks hit a two-out single to right field in the bottom of the third inning, senior Drew Green stepped into the batter's box. The score was 0-0 and SM West had its starter, Jacob Sylvester, on the mound.
What happened: Green hit a slow-roller to short. Normally it would be a routine play. But Green sprinted down the line and his hustle caused Vikings shortstop Nick Banman to look up as he was charging the ball, trying to see if he would be forced to hurry his throw. With Banman's eyes on Green instead of the ball, he bobbled it and Green reached safely to extend the two-out rally.
End result: After Green's infield single put runners on first and second, senior Ryan Walter hit a pop up to short. Banman misjudged the ball and dropped it for an error that loaded the bases. With two breaks that extended the inning, senior Jacob Seratte drilled a single up the middle, scoring Sinks and Green to give the Lions a 2-0 lead.
Scene: In the top of the sixth inning, LHS starter Brandon Bell gave up two singles and a walk. With one out, the Vikings had the bases loaded for their No. 5 hitter, Sylvester, who was 0-for-2 on the day with a groundout to second and a line out to first. The Lions were leading 2-0.
What happened: After a mound visit from LHS's pitching coach Mike Dudley, Bell was able to get Sylvester to hit a two-hop comebacker back to the mound. Bell had an easy play at the plate, as throwing home would have kept the shutout intact and picked up the second out of the inning. Instead, Bell turned and fired to second baseman Brad Kincaid. Throwing to second would get the out, but a run would score and another runner would be 90 feet away at third, and could tie the game on an infield single or a wild pitch.
End result: Kincaid made a remarkable turn, catching the ball and whipping it to first base to get Sylvester out and complete the inning-ending double play. Kincaid had so much heat on his throw that I thought it was the shortstop, since the shortstop would have his momentum going towards first base. The double play made Sylvester to slam his helmet to the ground, and helped the Lions to wrap up their 2-0 win to begin league play.